GOP Senate aides have told The Hill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to drop his energy bill from the Senate docket this summer, a move he will no doubt present to the public as a product of Republican intransigence:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is going to yank consideration of legislation responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill for the summer without floor debate or votes this week, according to Senate Republican aides.Reid has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m. with fellow Democrats to discuss energy.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) confirmed that Reid said the energy bill would wait; both said they assumed that also means the spill response.
As a purely political tactic, this makes sense. The Democrats’ energy plans are unpopular, while a punitive response to the Gulf spill and (outside of the Gulf itself) a deep-water drilling ban are somewhat popular. By pulling both, Reid can say that the “Party of No” is forcing him to throw out the baby with the bath water.
In fact, key Democrats oppose the Reid bill in its present form:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) yesterday said she would not vote for the Democrats’ proposal. “Not in the condition that it’s in, no,” she said.
Likewise, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said he would not vote for the Democratic bill as is. Both senators would like to see some form of revenue-sharing language in the bill. Begich said he would prefer the version of revenue sharing included in the Republican bill.