Senate Dems block GOP attempt to amend energy bill

Senate Democrats defeated Republican attempts to bring up amendments to an energy efficiency bill on Wednesday.

Republicans filed a motion to table Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) amendments he used to “fill the tree” but it failed on a 45-52 vote.

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Earlier Wednesday, Reid filed cloture on S. 2262 because he said Republicans reneged on their end of a deal.

Reid said Republicans originally agreed to pass the bipartisan energy bill 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 later also insisted on votes on at least five GOP amendments. 

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

Earlier this week, the Senate voted 79-20 in the first procedural vote on the bill, but after Reid refused to allow amendments Republicans said they would not longer back the bill.

The vote to end debate on S. 2262 is expected Monday evening. Shaheen said she would work through Monday to try and convince the seven GOP cosponsors to vote with Democrats to overcome the 60-vote hurdle.

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.

In September, Reid pulled the bill from the floor after Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) refused to allow anyone to call up amendments until he got a vote on his ObamaCare measure.

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