McConnell Says “Stay Tuned” on Energy

Posted July 23, 2008 at 4:13pm

Despite the continuing energy standoff Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed guarded optimism Wednesday afternoon that an “agreement is still possible.”

Yet McConnell reiterated that Republicans will not accept the Democratic offer of proposing a single amendment — likely to allow offshore drilling — to the Democratic oil speculation bill in what could be the last energy debate before the summer recess.

“What we’re insisting on is having a debate,” McConnell said.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) criticized Republicans for not wanting a vote on their drilling amendment, arguing that once again Republicans “are not serious” about doing something about the energy crisis.

However, Democrats may be facing dissension within their own ranks.

One Democratic lawmaker acknowledged that some Democrats are divided over opening certain areas to domestic drilling. But the lawmaker contended that Democrats are united around language to retain federal authority over potential drilling areas instead of giving that power to the states.

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) questioned why Reid was limiting GOP amendments, hinting that the Majority Leader is “worried” that he may lose some members of his own party if there are various drilling votes.

Even so, McConnell cryptically told reporters to “stay tuned,” suggesting a deal may still be in the works.