Republican senator calls out her party for energy bill riders

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) on Wednesday called out Republicans who tried to pile ObamaCare amendments onto bipartisan energy efficiency legislation that recently stalled on the Senate floor.

“What we need to reckon with is the fact that you have got a process that is being used for political advantage and gain rather than to advance policy,” she said.

Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, blamed her own party and Democrats alike for letting the bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenWeek ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny Five things to know about the Kaspersky-Russia controversy DHS bans Kaspersky software in federal agencies MORE (D-N.H.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWeek ahead in tech: Debate over online sex trafficking bill heats up 'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision MORE (R-Ohio) get derailed. The Alaska senator and other advocates are hopeful it can resurface on the floor.

“Maybe we need to embarrass those in the leadership that it is high time that you focus on the policy side of this,” Murkowski said at an energy forum hosted by the group Center Forward.

She expressed hope that, if the bill returns to the floor, an agreement could be struck that only allowed energy-related amendments.

Murkowski said the Senate, as a whole, bears responsibility for the inability to advance the bipartisan bill. “I think, in fairness, we as a body need to be embarrassed about the fact that we cannot move an energy efficiency bill across the floor of the United States Senate. That should trouble all of us,” Murkowski said.

“It should trouble Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE; it should trouble Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum 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; it should trouble David VitterDavid VitterYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat Overnight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill 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 GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE and the guys that had tried to hold it up,” she said.

Murkowski expressed hope that the battles over ObamaCare playing out on the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling could enable the energy bill to advance later without getting bogged down in healthcare debates.

“If you can let some of the steam out, then maybe we have got some room to advance this energy efficiency [bill] without the weight of all this extraneous stuff,” she said.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) blocked debate on the energy bill last month by insisting that he get a vote — on the energy bill or elsewhere — on his ObamaCare amendment.

Vitter’s amendment would have required the president, the vice president and political appointees to use ObamaCare's health exchanges, and limit tax subsidies to help cover the premiums of federal employees, among other provisions.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) floated an amendment to delay the individual health insurance mandate for one year and codify the Obama administration's one-year delay of requirements that employers provide insurance.

The looming federal funding debate knocked the stalled efficiency bill off the floor in mid-September.

But Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Finance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-Ore.), Shaheen, Portman, Murkowski and what she said were “a few others” are still working to revive it.

“We need the ‘and a few others’ to grow so we can demonstrate to [Majority Leader] Harry Reid: 'Look, we have got 60 [votes] to move forward with this; we have got that support; give us the opportunity to come back [to the floor],'” Murkowski said.

“What we have been doing ... behind the scenes, not necessarily out on the front pages every day but what we have been doing is focusing on how can we build a bigger alliance here,” she said.

While Murkowski criticized efforts to link the bill to ObamaCare, she predicted that if it hadn’t been for those amendments, there would have been others that Reid found “equally onerous” and given him “cause to pause.”

The underlying energy bill contains measures to encourage better building codes, train workers in energy efficient building technologies, help manufacturers become more efficient and bolster efficiency in federal buildings.