U.S. Senator Tina Smith Recognized as “Key Senator” in Working to Close Budget Deal

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) recently lauded the inclusion of an investment-based clean electricity approach she’s long championed—called the Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP), a type of clean electricity standard—in the landmark budget agreement passed by the Senate last week. And now, E&E News has identified Sen. Smith as one of “four key senators” who are working to close the deal.

You can access the full E&E News piece here and an excerpt from the article below:

“Sen. Tina Smith, a Minnesota Democrat, has been working for months on a clean electricity standard, a linchpin of President Biden’s climate policies. The standard would unlock federal funds for a clean energy build-out that’s meant to reach an 80 percent carbon-free electrical grid by 2030. That would be a major victory for progressives and one of the most meaningful climate policies to ever be implemented on the federal level.

“Smith has made steady progress on putting together a version of the standard that is designed to pass through the budget reconciliation process. As part of that process, Smith has worked with Manchin to get his input. 

“She has also tried to bring utilities on board with the plan in the hope of swaying hesitant lawmakers. Her plan has evolved in recent months to look more like a clean electricity payment program, which would offer federal funds to utilities to help build out clean energy more rapidly.

“Smith is a ‘very practical senator’ who has worked on building relationships in the Senate, said Leah Stokes, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has helped craft the CEPP.

“‘She’s been pointing out this is about American competitiveness; this is about keeping electricity bills low; this is about green jobs in the United States. That’s the reality of the plan her team has been developing,’ Stokes said. ‘Those are values senators share: job creation, making sure electricity bills are low, making sure the United States is competitive. Those ideas will resonate across the aisle.’”