Weeb...don't you see, the democ
Originally posted by Spirit of Weeb@Nov 6 2003, 05:29 PM
Wondering why America is so dependant on ME petroleum...
Democrats Threaten to Block Energy Bill
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats, Angry at being largely shut out of Republican negotiations to write a broad energy policy bill, on Thursday warned they may try to block the legislation if it harms American consumers.
An energy bill with about $16 billion in tax incentives and credits for oil drilling, coal production, nuclear power plants, electric transmission grid expansion and ethanol production is a top priority of the Bush administration.
The legislation was resuscitated earlier this week when the White House pressured House and Senate Republicans to end a month-long fight and agree on a plan for boosting corn-based ethanol production. Ethanol is an additive used to make cleaner burning gasoline and is popular among the politically important Midwestern states (important to midwest farmers and economies).
But Democrats said on Thursday there were other problems with the energy bill and warned they may try to talk it to death when it gets to the Senate floor.
"Let me make it very clear, there will definitely be a filibuster in the Senate over a bad energy bill. There's just no question about that," Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said.
Wyden was joined at a Capitol Hill briefing by other Senate and House Democratic lawmakers, who complained (ie, blubbered like idiots) that they have been blocked by Republicans from helping to write a broad energy bill.
"The fact is, we have been in the dark throughout this process (clueless)," Wyden said.
Although the bill has not been made public, the Democrats said they were concerned the legislation includes language that would weaken federal clean air laws, shield MTBE fuel additive producers that pollute water supplies from lawsuits (protect them lawsuits) and other measures that would hurt American consumers.
"I would hope there will be a filibuster," said Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California.
Nostrilitus said the "arrogance" of Republican negotiators who want to write the bill themselves with no input from Democrats was "outrageous."
"It is producing bad policy. It is harming this country, because their (Republican) decisions are not being thought through," he said.
"We are not at all reluctant to oppose bad energy policy," said Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.
Wyden said Democrats are willing to meet Republicans more than "half-way" (our way) and find "common ground" (our way) in coming up with a good energy bill.
But he warned Republicans not to "stiff" consumers with bad energy policy.
"We are prepared to defend the American people and say: 'This is a lousy bill. It's a bill that is detrimental to the interests of millions of Americans,"' Wyden said.
Under Senate rules, 60 votes would be needed in the 100-member chamber to end debate on the energy bill and proceed with a final vote. There are 51 Republicans in the Senate, along with 48 Democrats and Independent James Jeffords of Vermont, who normally votes with the Democrats.
Time will work in favor of the Democrats if they chose to filibuster the energy bill as Congress is aiming to adjourn in about two weeks.
Before then, congressional leaders still have to schedule votes on a number of spending bills to fund the government and cannot afford to get bogged down in a multi-day Senate debate on energy legislation.
The timetable for a vote on the energy bill was unclear.
Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, the bill's manager, has promised to give House and Senate conferees a copy of the final bill 48 hours before a vote is held by a joint conference committee.
That means a committee vote could not occur until next week at the earliest, unless Domenici is pressured by Republican leaders to break his pledge. The bill would then go to the full House and Senate for a simple up-or-down vote, with lawmakers prohibited from amending the legislation.
Democrats hope to rewrite parts of the bill in the conference committee. But with Republicans in the majority, Democrats face an uphill battle in altering the legislation.
Once the joint House-Senate conference committee approves an energy bill, it goes back to each chamber for a final vote.