Senate Democratic leaders failed to get the votes needed Friday to proceed with quick consideration of a House-passed energy bill and began searching for a compromise that could overcome a Republican filibuster. Senators by a 53-42 vote fell short of moving ahead with the legislation passed by the House on Thursday. Sixty votes were needed to overcome GOP objections.Gristmill outlines Reid's strategies:
Reid has two choices: one, he could follow Pelosi's bold lead, keep the entire package together, and force Republicans to actually filibuster it -- find out if corn-state legislators want to vote against an RFS. Find out if the Republican Party wants to go on record opposing the first boost in CAFE in over 30 years. Alternatively, Reid could wheel and deal in the smoky back rooms: strip the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the tax package out of the bill, leaving just the RFS and CAFE, and try to vote the resulting (crappy) bill through. At this point it looks like that's going to be his play, since he's already talking to the press about it.The Journal has a similar perspective, albeit a slightly different tone, and also noting the presence of two certain individuals:
Senate Republicans on Friday blocked Democrats from voting on an energy bill that would affect almost every part of the industry, saying that the bill went too far.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) flew in from the presidential campaign trail to join fellow Democrats in support of an energy policy that is becoming a campaign issue.
Some lawmakers are saying that the Senate majority leader would be willing to strip tax provisions and renewable-energy mandates for utilities out of the energy bill in order to push the bill through the Senate and get President Bush's signature. Otherwise, "my impression is that the bill isn't going anywhere," said Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas).