Lawmakers jumping onto energy bill bandwagon

Bud Albright, who served as chief of staff to then-House Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) during the tough negotiations that led to the sweeping 2005 energy law, said that effort benefited from early agreement by all parties that they would produce a comprehensive bill.

“There’s going to be tough decisions, and everyone’s going to be a part of the decisionmaking process,” recalled Albright, now a lobbyist with Ogilvy Government Relations.

Expectations over the current energy push are somewhat tempered by tensions between the GOP and the White House, which is wary of negotiating with Republicans who bring vastly different policy objectives to the table.

“I’m not sure they’ve decided what they want to do at this point,” Albright said of GOP leaders. “They’re trying this piecemeal to see what we can do. … And I think it’s a good strategy” given the political environment.

For his part, current House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) yesterday said he had not spoken directly with Bishop about energy legislation, but indicated he was content to let each committee exercise its jurisdictional prerogatives.

“I know our leadership is looking to move a number of energy bills the end of next month, and we hope to be ready with some ourselves,” he said.