Reid Expected to Pivot From Small Business to Energy

Posted July 29, 2010 at 9:05am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will likely attempt to bring energy legislation to the Senate floor Thursday morning if, as expected, he is unable to break a GOP filibuster of a small-business jobs bill.

But Republicans have little love for Democrats’ latest energy measure and are expected to filibuster it as well.

On Wednesday evening, Reid tried to break the impasse on the small-business bill with Republicans by agreeing to their previous demands to consider three of their amendments, as well as three Democratic alternatives to those proposals. Reid also wanted to consider a fourth Democratic education amendment and offered to allow Republicans to offer their own competing proposal.

Pointing to talks with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) last week in which the GOP leader said Republicans would drop their filibuster if their amendments were considered, Reid said, “If they mean what they said last week, the Republicans should accept this request because we’re, in effect, saying ‘yes.'”

McConnell, however, rejected that offer, objecting to the contents of some of the Democratic alternatives and arguing that the majority stalled for weeks before responding to his amendment proposal.

As a result, McConnell countered with an offer of his own to consider seven GOP amendments — including a border security proposal, an estate tax proposal and a nuclear loan guarantee program — arguing that Reid has been dragging out consideration of the bill.

“It took until about an hour ago, an hour ago before they produced their amendments. So to be clear, the Majority Leader moved to proceed to this bill on June 24 … [and] the fact is that we have not had any opportunity to offer amendments,” he said.

Reid countered, blasting Republicans. “I’m terribly disappointed, Mr. President. We have tried our utmost to be fair and reasonable. But it’s obvious that there is no effort here to solve the problem with small business across this country,” he said.

With Republicans sticking by their guns, Democratic aides acknowledged Reid will likely fall at least one vote short in his effort to break the GOP filibuster of the small-business measure this morning.