Reid to scrap test vote on natural gas bill, sees chance to move later this year

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is backing off plans to hold a test vote on natural gas legislation because “positive” talks with Republicans suggest the prospect of a bipartisan deal to advance the measure later this year, a Reid aide said Wednesday.

“There have been some positive discussions with Republicans about moving forward on the natural gas and electric vehicles legislation. Sen. Reid has talked to Sen. Hatch and others and thinks that vitiating the cloture vote at this point would increase the chances that we’ll be able to get a bipartisan agreement to pass this important legislation  before the end of the year,” the aide said of Reid’s talks with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and others.

A cloture vote had been scheduled on Reid’s legislation, which contains tax incentives and other programs to spur deployment of natural gas-powered and electric vehicles.

But Reid was not expected to get the 60 votes needed for cloture, or ending debate, on the measure, which raises revenues by increasing a per-barrel fee on oil companies.