GOP Set for Battle on Reid Energy Bill

Posted July 16, 2008 at 2:16pm

If Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) uses a parliamentary procedure to block amendments on an oil speculation bill he plans to offer Wednesday afternoon, Republicans will likely try everything in their arsenal to derail movement on it.

Senate Republicans want a battle with Reid over energy legislation that both parties hope will combat high gasoline prices; however, the Majority Leader has indicated that he is unwilling to allow amendments, particularly to permit more oil drilling, on his bill.

On Wednesday afternoon, Reid, along with Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.) and Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (N.D.), plans to offer legislation on oil market speculation, which Democrats argue is the main factor driving the soaring gas prices.

Senate GOP Conference Vice Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he would encourage his GOP colleagues to do whatever it takes to pressure Democrats to allow amendments, particularly because “speculation is just a piece of the problem” and other measures are needed.

However, another top GOP lawmaker was more pointed, arguing that Republicans want to have input and will not just stand by, forecasting that there will likely be a battle.

“We’re going all the way on this one. This is the biggest issue facing the nation in a long time, and the Democrats cannot just dictate,” the Republican Senator said. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to get a full debate. Republicans have good ideas too.”