Reid Pulls the Plug on Modest Energy Bill
by Charles Lemos, Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 07:33:46 PM EDT
Having already set aside comprehensive energy and climate legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today pulled the plug on the more modest energy bill that was to address the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and set a few new energy standards.
"It’s a sad day when you can’t find a handful of Republicans to support a bill," Reid told reporters.
From The Hill:
Reid had planned to debate and vote on competing Democratic and Republican spill plans Wednesday but he said "it's clear Republicans were going to be determined to stand in the way of everything."
Reid promised that, "in the interim, we will continue to work for Republican votes."
"We are going to continue to listen to people during the August recess," Reid said, "and we are going to continue fighting for energy legislation before we leave this Congress."
He said it will be easier to do so after the summer break "because we’ve had some very good conversations."
"I think before the end of the year, the answer is absolutely yes" that energy legislation will be passed.
The GOP spin:
Robert Dillon, spokesman for Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), pointed out that Reid did not even have all the members of the Democratic caucus standing behind his effort - and that was the reason he had to pull it.
"The reason Sen. Reid pulled the bill is because his own members were set to vote against it and for the Republican bill," Dillon noted in an email. "We believe our bill is better and less costly. Instead of playing the blame game, Democratic leaders should allow an open and transparent process where both sides can contribute ideas."
The decision to abandon the legislation comes amid concerns among some Democrats that the energy provisions — which focus on home efficiency retrofits and natural gas-powered and electric vehicles — were too modest.
"I think there was substantial concern on the Democratic side that the energy bill did not do enough," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
And so it goes. Senator Reid will attempt to steer passage of an energy bill in some form after the Congress returns from its August recess.