WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is proud to highlight its major legislative accomplishments of 2012. In a year of historic lows in terms of how many bipartisan bills became law, BPC is proud to highlight its key congressional successes across a number of different policy areas.
Energy Project – The Quadrennial Energy Review Act of 2012.
In November, BPC's Energy Project released recommendations for improved governance in the energy policy arena entitled, The Executive Branch and National Energy Policy: Time for Renewal. The recommendations called for creation of a long-term national energy strategy and a Quadrennial Energy Review that lays out both the steps needed to implement the strategy and the metrics for measuring different policies' successes. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and a bipartisan group of senators introduced S. 1703, the Quadrennial Energy Review Act of 2012, which implements our recommendation.
Foreign Policy Project's Russia Task Force – Russia's Permanent Normal Trade Relations status.
BPC's Foreign Policy Project published a report in January that recommended granting Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status, while holding Russian officials accountable for human rights violations. BPC's approach addressed the two key issues in this debate simultaneously – the economic benefits to U.S. businesses as a result of Russia joining the World Trade Organization and the necessity for strict human rights provisions. Congress chose the compromise language that most mirrored our recommendations by a House vote of 365-43 and a Senate vote of 92-4, and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law last Friday.
Energy Project – Energy Efficiency Proposal Passes Both Houses of Congress.
Both Houses of Congress passed H.R. 6582, the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, and the president signed it into law on December 18, 2012. The bill will develop efficiency standards for select appliances, consolidate other standards and strengthen federal energy efficiency programs. In early 2013, the Energy Project will release a broad report on substantive energy policy recommendations, several of which highlight the important role that energy efficiency plays in developing strategic national energy policy. This bipartisan legislation is proof that we can move beyond our differences to focus on policies that are beneficial to and necessary for a balanced national energy portfolio.
National Transportation Policy Project – Amendment to Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century.
Earlier this year the Senate passed a reauthorization of the nation's surface transportation programs with bipartisan support. The bill, Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century or MAP-21, was passed unanimously out of committee and received a 74-22 majority on final passage. MAP-21 is an essential first step towards establishing a performance-based transportation program. A committee staffer who helped draft the legislation credited BPC's advocacy on this issue as the reason for the inclusion of the performance provisions in the bill. MAP-21 also incorporates several other major reforms which BPC has supported.
In addition to the reforms included in the underlying bill, BPC worked very closely with Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Mark Warner (D-VA) who introduced an amendment to MAP-21 that would allow states and metropolitan regions the ability to raise additional revenue through user fees. Although the Carper-Kirk-Warner amendment was ultimately not adopted, BPC was successful in drawing together a large coalition of leading transportation experts and organizations to voice their support for the amendment and draw a significant amount of media attention to the issue.
About the Bipartisan Policy Center:
In 2007, former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell formed the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress. Currently, the BPC focuses on issues including health care, energy, national and homeland security, transportation and economic policy. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/.
SOURCE Bipartisan Policy Center