House Dems Continue Forward March on Price Cap Bill

Fresh off of their latest Congressional recess, Democrats in the House of Representatives last week continued to round up support for a discharge petition that would force consideration of energy price-cap legislation on to the House floor. The Democrats now need less than 60 signatures from lawmakers in order to move the price-cap bill sponsored by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) directly to the House floor.

Inslee's bill would instruct FERC to implement short-term, cost-of-service based energy rates that would sunset March 1, 2003. The bill exempts new generation facilities from the rate limits in order to encourage new energy generation. Under Inslee's approach, if FERC ignores the will of Congress, states would have the right to appeal to federal courts.

House Democrats in late June began collecting signatures for a discharge petition that, if successful, would take Inslee's bill out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and move it directly to the House floor for consideration. A total of 218 signatures are required in order to discharge a bill from committee. In the days leading up to Congress' July 4 recess, Democrats had collected just over 100 signatures for the discharge petition.

A House aide told NGI that as of last Thursday, the signature tally for the petition stood at 163. "We're still doing it, we're still climbing up," the aide said in reference to the signature-gathering process.

©Copyright 2001 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.