Senate Republicans on Monday killed a relatively non-controversial energy bill that quickly became the latest victim of a partisan fight over how Democrats are running the Senate.
The Senate held a procedural vote to advance the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. Sixty votes were needed to advance the bill, but it only received 55 votes in favor, effectively blocking any further progress.
Republicans have been fuming over the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) not to consider any GOP amendments to the bill.
Just before the vote, Reid said Democrats have already agreed to hold a vote signaling Senate approval of the Keystone pipeline if Republicans agreed to support the broader energy bill today. But he said Republicans are seeking additional amendment votes that weren’t part of that original deal.
For that reason, Reid objected to a request from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow votes on five amendments.
“That’s what I want to do,” Reid said of the original plan. “He [McConnell] doesn’t want to do that, I object.”
McConnell then offered a deal that would let the Senate consider the GOP’s various amendments on the condition that they can only pass with 60 votes, essentially giving Democrats total control over whether they pass or not. But Reid still objected.
Those objections prompted most Republicans to scuttle the bill. At least five were needed to advance it, but in the end, only three GOP senators voted with Democrats, even though there are seven Republican cosponsors of the bill.
The energy bill, which was aimed at increasing energy efficiency in homes and businesses, joins a growing list of bills that have died in the Senate after partisan bickering. After making requests for amendment votes — something that used to be the norm in the upper chamber — Republicans have often been faced with Democratic opposition, which in turn prompts GOP members not to support the legislation.