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Tax ‘Extenders’ and Energy Efficiency Make May Agenda, Reid Says

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring up a catchall tax “extenders” package to the floor next work period, along with a long-delayed energy efficiency bill.  

Those measures may be in line behind an effort by Democrats to phase-in an increase of the federal the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The minimum wage bill, spearheaded by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was initially expected to get a test vote on the Senate floor before the most recent work period ended, but Reid decided to move forward first with a vote on a gender pay equity measure, along with some nominations.  

The Finance Committee reported out the roughly $85 billion extenders legislation April 3. The measure would revive a host of tax preferences for two years, in what Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said would be his last markup on such a measure as the panel’s chairman.  

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told CQ Roll Call earlier this week that he wasn’t concerned about the possibility Democrats would tout the energy efficiency bill as a victory in an election year for his Democratic partner on the issue. Shaheen is facing a challenge from former Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott P. Brown.  

“It’s never been a mystery that it’s going to come to the floor, it was just a question of when,” Portman said, noting last year’s disagreement about the amendment process. “Clearly it was going to come to the floor long before Scott Brown got in.”  

Reid also pointed toward floor consideration of a bipartisan energy efficiency bill championed by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. That bill fell apart on the Senate floor last year because of a dispute about the amendment process, but advocates have worked since then to develop a path forward.  

Fiscal 2015 appropriations bills are expected to hit the floor during the following work periods in June and July.  

Reid made the newest scheduling news on a conference call with reporters to discuss the seventh edition of his National Clean Energy Summit. The event will be held in September at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. On the call, Hillary Rodham Clinton was announced as the 2014 keynote speaker.  

Lauren Gardner contributed to this report.

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