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Democrat places hold on Flint, energy bill package

Democrat places hold on Flint, energy bill package
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A Democrat has placed a new hold on a Senate package to overhaul federal energy policy and provide aid to Flint, Mich. 

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Florida Democrats mired in division, debt ahead of 2022 Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (D-Fla.) is objecting to provisions related to the energy side of the package, his office said Wednesday, and he's looking to block consideration of a Republican amendment related to off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. 

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The amendment — from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) — would expand a revenue sharing program established between the federal government and states along the Gulf. Nelson's office said the Democrat is worried the amendment would open the door to expanded oil drilling in the Gulf, including off the coast of Florida. 

“Sen. Nelson supports the energy bill and the money for Flint, Mich., but the Republicans insist on an amendment that would start the process of drilling off Florida’s coast,” spokesman Ryan Brown said. 

“After four decades of protecting Florida’s beaches and military training areas in the Gulf, Sen. Nelson isn’t going to stop now.”

Cassidy's amendment has yet to see a vote in the Senate. The amendment affects a revenue sharing program for a handful of Gulf states, but, his office noted Wednesday, doesn't impact Florida or call for more drilling near the state.  

Lawmakers hope to bring both the energy legislation and Flint aid bill to the floor soon. They've worked through most objections from Republicans related to the Flint aid, and energy bill sponsor Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars MORE (R-Alaska) said Nelson's hold is the last roadblock for the energy section of the package.

She "would certainly encourage" Nelson to work to resolve his hold quickly, she said Wednesday. 

"I worked pretty aggressively to eliminate everything we've had on our side," she said. "We're at that point, and I feel pretty good about it. So I sure would like to get this one wrapped up." 

—This post was updated at 4:58 p.m.