The Senate will return to work Wednesday, with a comprehensive energy bill slated to come to the floor and pass before week's end.
Senate aides confirmed that the bill is expected to come to the floor Wednesday, and Republican lawmakers expect the bill to pass.
The Energy Policy and Modernization Act was approved out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year on a bipartisan 18-4 vote. The major energy legislation addresses a number of areas where Republicans and Democrats have come to agreement, including energy efficiency, advanced vehicle technologies, expediting natural gas exports from the U.S., and guarding the electric grid from cyber attacks.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the committee, discussed the bill Tuesday on California AM radio KVML's "Newsmaker of the Day" program.
"I'm pleased that just days from now, the Senate will consider broad energy legislation," Murkowski said. "Following the passage of a highway bill, education reform and many others, the energy bill promises to be our next bipartisan accomplishment on behalf of the American people."
The senior Republican from Iowa, Sen. Chuck Grassley, told Iowa Public Radio that a vote on the bill could come Thursday, depending on how senators' travel pans out after last weekend's snowstorm.
"It's going to be dealing with offshore drilling, it's going to be dealing with drilling on public lands," Grassley said Tuesday. He said he would be advocating for renewable fuels, but said he does not want the bill to be seen as a fight between fossil fuel and renewable energy.
"We have to be prepared, maybe, for some amendments that are [from] people that fight alternative energy," he said. Nevertheless, Grassley said he believes there is enough support for the bill that it won't be derailed.