McConnell blames Dems for stalled energy bill

McConnell blames Dems for stalled energy bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellFive goals for Republicans this summer GOP leader tempers ObamaCare expectations Week ahead: Senate faces difficult path to consensus on healthcare MORE (R-Ky.) accused Senate Democrats Thursday morning of holding up the first energy bill to come to the chamber floor since 2007.

For the past two weeks, the two parties have gone back and forth on whether to allow amendments to an energy efficiency bill Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGOP frustrated by slow pace of Trump staffing This week: Congress awaits Comey testimony Will Republicans grow a spine and restore democracy? MORE (D-Nev.) brought to the floor, or strike a deal that would allow for a stand-alone vote on the Keystone XL pipeline.

A stand-alone isn't good enough, McConnell said; Republicans want energy-related amendments.

"At a time when we should’ve been debating energy, the majority leader refused to allow a single Republican amendment on energy this week," McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.

“That’s not the way this body was meant to function," he added.

The top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), shared a similar sentiment Wednesday evening.

"I’m trying to figure out how we advance the policies that are within this energy efficiency bill, while still allowing for a respectable amendment process in the Senate,” Murkowski told reporters.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a staunch Keystone advocate, sees things differently.

Landrieu assailed Republicans Wednesday evening for objecting to a stand-alone vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which Reid agreed to bring to the floor if Republicans helped pass the energy efficiency bill.

"My question to my Republican friends is: 'Do you want to build the Keystone pipeline or do you want an issue to talk about' " heading into the November election. "I think they want an issue to talk about," she said.