Republican senator: House GOP killed energy bill to go to a party

Republican senator: House GOP killed energy bill to go to a party

House GOP leaders stopped working on an energy reform package this month because they wanted to go to a fundraiser in New York, a Republican Senate chairwoman is charging. 

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort How Senate relationships could decide ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Alaska) told the Alaska Journal that Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Ryan: Americans want to see Trump talking with Dem leaders Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Wis.) didn’t hold an end-of-session vote on a compromise energy bill because he and other Republicans had to catch a train to the fundraiser. 

“The Speaker said ‘We’ve run out of time’ because they wanted to get on the party train,” Murkowski told the newspaper in an interview published late Monday.

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A spokesperson for Ryan didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Murkowski’s charge. 

After passing a spending bill and a water reform package, the House adjourned on Dec. 8 for the holiday recess without bringing a compromise version of the energy bill to the floor. The National Republican Congressional Committee was scheduled to hold its annual “Bright Lights and Broadway” fundraiser in New York City that weekend. 

Although the timing lines up as Murkowski said, there were still policy differences that needed to be resolved before an energy bill could come to the floor.

In a Dec. 7 statement, Murkowski said two issues were still on the table, blocking the bill’s path to a year-end vote. 

Negotiators were hung up on a centerpiece proposal in the Senate’s version of the energy reform bill: a measure to expand liquefied natural gas exports. Senators insisted a final package include that measure, but the House removed it during negotiations, Murkowski said then. 

Ryan’s office announced on Dec. 7 that “the conferees were not able to come to agreement on various outstanding issues in time for the House to consider a conference report.”

The failure of the energy bill ended more than two years of work toward a measure to expand energy production and streamline federal rules. If Congress has approved the measure, it would have been the first energy reform bill in a decade.