Energy cloture vote fails, Reid to strip taxes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday morning he would strip a controversial tax package from an energy bill and seek to pass it later in the day, after a cloture vote on a bill with the tax provisions fell one vote short.
    
Reid said he was disappointed by the 59-40 vote to end debate, but gave his thanks to several GOP senators for making a “difficult” vote for cloture. Most Republicans objected to the bill on the grounds that it would raise taxes on oil and gas companies.
    
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Republicans voting for cloture included Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), John Thune (S.D.), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Richard Lugar (Ind.). Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who faces a tough reelection bid next year, voted against cloture.
    
“I’m disappointed we didn’t pick up one more vote,” Reid said in a floor statement immediately after the vote. “We’re going to push the bill today if at all possible.”
    
Dropping the tax package, he said, would still leave a bill that would lift fuel efficiency standards by requiring an automaker’s fleet to average 35 miles per gallon.
    
“What we’re going to wind up with is still historic,” Reid said.
    
Seeking GOP support, Democrats have already dropped a controversial provision from the bill that would have required utilities to get more of their electricity from renewable sources. A bill that included that provision won only 53 votes on the Senate floor a week ago, falling seven votes short of cloture.