Senate fight over Flint aid goes into overtime
© Getty Images

Senators are searching for a way to save a wide-ranging energy reform bill after it failed to overcome a procedural hurdle.

Democrats blocked the otherwise bipartisan legislation from moving forward after lawmakers failed to get an agreement on providing aid to combat the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich.

Senators and staff are expected to talk through the weekend to try to get a deal that could resurrect the energy bill by early next week.

"Hopefully we'll be able to salvage this important bipartisan legislation in the next few days," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThis week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat The Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over healthcare GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Ky.), who used a procedural tactic that will allow him to bring the bill back up if they get an agreement.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) added that negotiators were "very close" to a deal on the funding for Flint but needed more time.

Democrats — led by Michigan Sens. Peters and Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Perdue says he will advocate for agriculture spending RNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight MORE — want $600 million for Flint, including $400 million to match state funds to repair and replace old pipes in the city and the balance going to a research and education center on lead poisoning.

They've suggested they are flexible on the amount of funding, but have pledged to keep blocking the legislation unless they can get some money for Flint included.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThis week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill MORE (R-Texas), however, accused Democrats of "gamesmanship" and temporarily "killing" the legislation after they rejected an offer from Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE (R-Alaska).

"They're just trying to make a political point, but I hope cooler heads will prevail," he told reporters. 

The Alaska Republican's proposal included giving $50 million directly to Flint and another $500 million to make additional loans available to the city and others with similar drinking water emergencies.

Timothy Cama contributed.