Senate Republicans hold the line on energy; Update: Reid falls apart
posted at 10:31 am on July 25, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Senate Republicans kept their word today to defeat any energy bill that did not include an end to the Congressional moratorium on off-shore drilling. By a 50-43 party-line vote, the bill that supposedly would curb “excessive” energy speculation failed to gain cloture. Instead of allowing a pro-drilling amendment to get attached to the bill, the Democrats will bury it:
U.S. legislation to rein in excessive energy speculation failed a key procedural vote on Friday to move forward in the Senate, and now lawmakers will set aside the bill to consider other legislation.
The House of Representatives may take up its own anti-speculation bill next week, and then lawmakers will get ready to leave for their month-long recess in August. …
Senate Republicans strongly opposed the speculation bill, arguing the legislation should be modified to also boost U.S. oil production by allowing more offshore drilling and developing vast oil shale fields in the West. Republicans said tight petroleum supplies that were unable to keep up with demand were the cause of high energy prices.
Only Olympia Snowe (R-ME) crossed the party line to vote in favor of cloture. Harry Reid (D-NV) voted against cloture, the only Democrat to do so, but only for procedural reasons. His no vote will allow him to bring the bill back to the floor for another pass later in the session — if he chooses to do so.
Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn promised a tough line on energy, daring the Democrats to defy the overwhelming will of the electorate on increased domestic oil production. The Democrats walked into the trap — and they may well find a way to lose a Congressional election that they had all but won this cycle. If they adjourn for a summer break without allowing Republicans an opportunity to begin the long-term process of increasing domestic production and lowering gas prices, voters will hear all about it for the next four months … and they’ll let Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi hear about it in November.
Update: What does Harry Reid do when he gets caught in a vice? He lashes out at reporters and distorts the truth:
At a “pen and pad” — a more casual, off-camera chat with reporters — Reid attacked and scolded correspondents in attendance, telling them he’s “really disappointed” in how they have been writing his energy plans, which include a bill to reign in speculation in the energy futures markets.
According to two Senate Democratic aides, Reid and other Democratic leaders were particularly stung by an article Thursday in The New York Times. It followed on several other reports that have highlighted Democrats’ attempts to fend off defections from their ranks to GOP-sponsored amendments, measures that would permit new drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf and in the West for oil shale. ….
Reporters tried to pin Reid down Thursday on the amendment issue.
In the exchange, Reid told one reporter she should “watch the [Senate] floor more often. … You might learn something.”
Another reporter explained she had watched the Senate proceedings and said it was not clear he was … offereing separate amendments, to which Reid asked the reporter if she “spoke English.”
“Turn up your Miracle Ear,” Reid added.
Reid may need to check his own comprehension of English. He did allow only two amendments on the bill, which Dick Durbin confirmed during a floor speech. If Reid can’t count to two, he should stop worrying about the English skills of reporters and get into a remedial math class.