The Senate voted 90-4 on Wednesday, March 4, to proceed with the Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s broad energy measure, the Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act of 2019. The measure, S. 2657, seeks to expand renewables, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and other green energy initiatives.
Sens. Murkowski and Manchin’s bill, known as the AGILE Act, renders generally bipartisan support and will be the first piece of energy legislation brought to the Senate floor in four years. The measure is a combination of more than 50 energy bills that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced with bipartisan backing in 2019.
This procedural vote paves the way for the next key steps for the AGILE Act, such as a deal between Senate leaders on which of the more than 185 amendments submitted on the energy package will get floor votes.
Lawmakers seeking to attach energy tax policy amendments to the bill are facing an uphill battle, Senate Republican leadership indicated. The pressure to act on clean energy tax incentives has grown since an effort to attach various energy tax policies to year-end funding negotiations failed.
A bipartisan group of four Senators have filed an amendment to extend the Section 45Q carbon capture tax credit for five additional years – until the end of 2028. Additionally, two Senators from opposing parties are considering introducing a narrower amendment to provide tax incentives for energy storage, as companies involved in energy storage do not currently have the same investment and production credits that their on-shore wind and solar counterparts do.
Senators have until 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, to file amendments to the S. 2657. Sen. Murkowski has encouraged the Chamber to continue to focus on the energy debate, despite recent concentration on the coronavirus supplemental.