"What I want is some breathing space so we can take two years, so we can think together as a body and come together with an energy solution,” said Rockefeller. “I am ready for that. We need that time.”

But Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal 'Fix' the Iran deal, but don't move the goalposts North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (D-M.D.) said the bill would harm domestic-energy interests.

"The uncertainty of a two-year delay is more than two years and puts American energy at a disadvantage to foreign energy companies," Cardin said.

Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeEPA's Pruitt: Bring back 'true environmentalism' Tax cut complete, hawks push for military increase Trump meets with oil-state GOP senators on ethanol mandate MORE (R-Okla.), who is a co-sponsor of the permanent ban, also criticized the plan, saying it simply delayed the inevitable.

"It doesn’t really accomplish anything. It just delays for two years,” said Inhofe. “If you are going to have a root canal, does it really help to wait two years?”