Democrats Caving On Energy Bill?
Late yesterday afternoon, The Hill reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has apparently softened his stance on prohibiting a vote an amendment offered by Republicans which would erase the Congressional ban on offshore oil drilling: Senate moves closer to energy vote deal:
The Senate on Monday inched toward a potential breakthrough on stalled energy legislation, as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Republicans could offer four amendments, including a vote on offshore oil drilling.
Speaking on the floor, Reid proposed that Democrats and Republicans each would have four amendments, which could be second-degree measures and would be subject to 60-vote thresholds.
That would be a welcome development, but anytime you're dealing with Harry Reid, I'd be careful that he's not setting up a parliamentary trick. In other words, read the fine print. Here's the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Reid’s proposal was “significant.” He asked for time to confer with GOP senators.
“This is a significant step in the direction I had hoped we might take,” McConnell said. “I’m very encouraged by this development.”
Just an hour earlier, in a conference call with reporters, McConnell strongly suggested that GOP senators would hold firm against any effort to pass anything besides the energy bill.
“Right now the No. 1 subject in the country is the price of gas at the pump,” McConnell said at the outset of the Senate’s last week of work before the August recess. “We think we ought to do something about that and then move on to other subjects.”
Seems on first reading that it's good news. Even if the GOP loses the vote on their amendment by failing to come up with the 11 or so Democrats it would take to pass, the vote will succeed in painting the Democrats as being (and actively voting) against any type of reasonable quick solution to get the oil and gas prices down. I wonder if Barack Obama would vote against it, or just miss the vote?
Works for me!