NO-ENERGY BILL MAY GET NO-GO
Senate Dems, GOP squabble may sink spill bill
Darren Goode, July 28, 2010 (The Hill)
"Senate Democrats and Republicans appear on a collision course that would sink chances of passing oil-spill and energy legislation amid disagreements over both substance and process…Democratic leaders…[foresee] the likely failure of the package and [blame] Republicans for obstructing it and other legislation."
[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev):] “…[The Senate Republican approach was] as if you were in Alice in Wonderland…Black was white, up was down, sideways was vertical…It’s just too bad that we can’t have cooperation to get something done ... on a bipartisan basis…This bill, I repeat, is bipartisan — it creates jobs, and lessens our dependence on foreign oil…A pretty good combination.”
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"Republican leaders [say] they cannot support the bill in its current form — mainly due to language retroactively removing a liability cap for oil-and-gas producers — and also want assurances they can offer amendments…Reid said he would discuss amendments if an initial vote limiting debate just to proceed to the bill receives the necessary 60 votes…
"But it does not seem likely that Reid would have enough support to start debate, given both Republican and some Democratic concerns over the liability cap issue…Since the spill and energy package is sandwiched in between consideration of small-business legislation and a debate over Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, there may only be one or two days available to debate the package…[and] Reid does not seem to have corralled all of his Democrats…"
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"[Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)] and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are trying to find a compromise between the Democrats’ unlimited liability cap and the Republican idea of giving the president the authority to set liability limits based on 13 criteria, including a company’s safety record and the risk involved in an offshore drilling project.
"Landrieu and Begich have suggested an idea — modeled after federal nuclear energy regulations — that require all oil-and-gas producers to collectively share the liability responsibility for a spill."