"What I want is some breathing space so we can take two years, so we can think together as a body and come together with an energy solution,” said Rockefeller. “I am ready for that. We need that time.”

But Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism The Secure Act makes critical reforms to our retirement system — let's pass it this year Lawmakers honor JFK on 56th anniversary of his death MORE (D-M.D.) said the bill would harm domestic-energy interests.

"The uncertainty of a two-year delay is more than two years and puts American energy at a disadvantage to foreign energy companies," Cardin said.

Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeLankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Gabbard calls for congressional inquiry over Afghanistan war report MORE (R-Okla.), who is a co-sponsor of the permanent ban, also criticized the plan, saying it simply delayed the inevitable.

"It doesn’t really accomplish anything. It just delays for two years,” said Inhofe. “If you are going to have a root canal, does it really help to wait two years?”