Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced today he is abandoning efforts to bring up spill legislation before the August recess, pleasing the oil industry but disappointing the liberal members of his caucus.
In a déjà vu moment from a couple of weeks ago, when he yanked plans for comprehensive climate legislation, Reid blamed Republicans for not supporting the bill and putting politics above sound policy that he and other Democratic leaders maintain is essential in light of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
He added that he plans to continue working to pass his bill, which includes controversial language removing the liability cap on oil companies in the wake of a spill, before next year.
"We've had some very good conversations," Reid said. "Before the end of the year, the answer is yes, we would be able to get a nice energy bill done," Reid said.
Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, are working on an alternative proposal on the liability issue. American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said his organization was open to working with Landrieu and Begich on this effort.
"It's clear that their proposal comes much closer to a balanced approach to make sure we don't rush small or mid-sized or even large companies out of the Gulf," Gerard told National Journal moments after Reid announced he was punting on the oil spill bill.
"I think it's a recognition that the votes weren't there," Gerard said of Reid's decision. Reid flatly denied the notion that some Democrats -- chiefly Landrieu and Begich -- were prepared to vote against his bill despite both senators having expressed serious reservations about voting for it.
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