Reid blocks GOP amendments to energy efficiency measure

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filled the amendment tree to block Republican amendments and filed cloture on an energy efficiency bill on Wednesday.

“What a shame,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “But it happens every time we get to an issue.”

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Reid refused to allow Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to call up five GOP amendments, saying Republicans couldn’t be “pinned down” on what they wanted.

“Even if Senate Democrats would rather pander to the far left and shut down debate, Republicans are going to keep fighting for the middle class,” McConnell said. “That’s why we planned to offer forward-leaning amendments that aim not just to increase energy security, but to also improve national security and economic security for the middle class.”

Reid said Republicans originally agreed to pass S. 2262 from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in exchange for a binding vote on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the GOP reneged on the agreement.

Reid filed cloture on the bill, setting up a 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. That vote is expected Monday.

He also asked unanimous consent to hold votes to table his placeholder amendments at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Republicans are unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to table Reid’s amendments that he used the “fill the tree” to prevent Republicans from calling up their own measures.

This is the second time Republican insistence on amendment votes has doomed this bipartisan bill, which contains measures to boost building codes, train workers in energy-efficient building technologies, help manufacturers become more efficient and bolster conservation efforts at federal agencies, among other provisions.

Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) said Reid is running the Senate as if he were a "dictator" by not allowing Republicans to offer amendments to any legislation.

Shaheen said she and Portman would continue to work through Monday to try and get more amendments incorporated into the legislation in order to woo enough Republicans to overcome the filibuster.