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Meanwhile, with a broader energy package bottled up in committee, Reid and Democrats plan to move quickly on a bill being drafted by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) that would eliminate oil company tax breaks, and redirect the money to clean energy investments and efficiency. There is some bipartisan support for getting rid of those tax breaks, with Ryan saying he supports ending corporate welfare including oil company tax breaks at a town hall last week, and other Republicans including Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) also backing the idea.
But the bill is still small potatoes relative to the fight over trillions of dollars in the debt limit battle. And other Republican leaders have denounced any cut in tax breaks for oil companies as a tax increase that they say will lead to higher gas prices, not lower.
Reid said that he’d like to move on to a broader energy bill that would include a renewable energy standard but that Republicans are blocking the move in committee.
One wild card is a possible debate and vote on the United States’ involvement in Libya’s civil war. Both parties are split internally on the issue, and party leaders haven’t been in a rush to take action. But backers and foes of U.S. conflict have been drafting resolutions that could be the basis of a debate on the Senate floor.