Energy Deal Off, for Now

Posted July 30, 2008 at 5:12pm

An agreement that would have allowed Senate Republicans to offer four amendments on the oil-speculation bill is off the table as of now, as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) withdrew his offer from Republicans after they refused to back a tax-extenders bill.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had planned to come to the floor to agree to Reid’s offer that would have allowed Republicans to offer four amendments on Reid’s speculation bill.

But negotiations came to a halt when a vote on the tax-extenders bill did not come out as Reid had expected.

Apparently, Reid had hoped that GOP lawmakers would vote to support the tax-extenders bill in exchange for four amendments on the speculation bill. One senior Democratic aide said that the tax-extenders bill was always a part of an agreement between the two leaders.

The Democratic aide confirmed that if McConnell offered to allow the speculation bill to move forward, Reid would not accept. However, Reid actually withdrew his unanimous consent offer earlier Wednesday — making that offer moot.

“I offered the Republicans on our speculation bill four amendments. That was rejected out of hand. OK? Rejected out of hand. Offer made. It’s gone,” Reid said.