Senate rejects partisan amendments to energy bill

Senate rejects partisan amendments to energy bill
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The Senate on Tuesday voted against six amendments to its broad energy reform bill that pursued partisan priorities on political spending and conservation.

The amendments included Republican ones, such as a provision to limit the president’s power to designate national monuments, and Democratic ones, like requiring additional campaign finance disclosures from fossil fuel companies.

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In rejecting the amendments, the chamber kept up the goals of leaders and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to keep a bipartisan bill that would avoid turning off either party.

Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeOvernight Defense: General says US strike probably led to civilian deaths | Tillerson to push NATO on spending | Trump taps F-35 chief Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Utah) sponsored the national monument amendment, which would give states and Congress veto power over the president’s ability to protect land from development.

“The amendment provides Congress and the applicable state legislatures a three-year window to approve presidentially declared national monuments, ensuring that land-use decisions finally have an input from the various states,” Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeWounded Ryan faces new battle Overnight Tech: High court hears case on where patent suits are filed | House to vote on blocking internet privacy rules | Facebook's new tools for voters House to vote Tuesday on blocking Obama internet privacy rules MORE (R-Ariz.) said.

Republicans also put forward a provision from Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoTrump climate move risks unraveling Paris commitments Overnight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation MORE (R-Wyo.) to expedite permitting for natural gas lines on federal land, which also got rejected.

“This is a commonsense solution that helps taxpayers, helps Indian country, helps our environment,” Barrasso said in defense of the measure.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGovernment Accountability Office will review Mar-a-Lago security procedures Green groups vow war over Trump’s climate rollback Gorsuch is restoring lost faith in government MORE (D-R.I.) wanted to require fossil fuel companies to disclose big political donations that wouldn’t otherwise require disclosure, another provision that was rejected.

“I very much hope that consistent with past Republican support for sunshine and disclosure, we can get a bipartisan vote in favor of disclosure of the big money donors who are now putting secret money into our elections,” he said.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sponsored an amendment to end certain tax incentives that benefit fossil fuel companies, which the Senate voted down.

“If we're serious about creating a level playing field, then we should phase out incentives for fossil fuels as we phase them out for wind and solar power,” he said.

The Senate passed two amendments Tuesday to the bill by voice vote.

One from Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinRepublicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown No. 2 Senate Democrat opposes Trump's Supreme Court pick The Hill’s Whip List: 30 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (D-Ill.) increases the science research funding the bill authorizes. The other, from Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), would create a program to educate landowners about land conservation programs available from the federal government.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is likely to file for cloture on the bill later Tuesday, which would line it up for a final vote on Thursday.