The Path Forward on the Senate Energy/Oil Spill Bill
A Senate aide says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could file a motion to proceed on his energy and oil spill legislation as early as today, which would leave room for the first procedural vote on the bill to take place on Wednesday.
As I noted earlier today, if there aren’t enough votes to clear the first procedural vote, the bill will likely be punted until after the August recess, given the tight floor schedule this week.
Looking forward a bit, can Reid’s bill pass after the recess? The answer may come down to a couple factors.
First and foremost is whether negotiations behind the scenes can get on-the-fence Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) and some Republicans on board. These negotiations will likely focus on language in the bill that removes a company’s $75 million cap on economic liability in the event of a spill. Landrieu and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), as well almost all Republicans, have raised concerns about the language.
Secondly, post-recess passage of the energy/oil spill bill will be dependent on the mood in the Senate after lawmakers talk to their constituents. It seems like it would be difficult to leave for the year without passing any legislation responding to the spill, but a lot will depend on pre-election jitters.