Energy Bill Stalls in Senate

The U.S. Senate has blocked a comprehensive energy bill, with Republicans arguing that the measure is too far reaching.

On Dec. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6) received a 235-to-181 House approval, with 14 Republicans voting for it and 7 Democrats voting against. The following day, the Senate provided the bill 53 "yes" votes -- 7 short of the number needed to advance it.

If the bill is to move forward, Democrats will be have to negotiate with the Republicans, which is likely to result in a scaled-back energy bill. Republicans are strongly opposed to a $21 billion tax package in the House-passed bill, as well as a requirement for electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their power by renewable energy such as wind and solar.

"The Democrat leadership started with a bipartisan agreement that could be passed in both houses and signed by the president. In other words, it could become law. They've chosen, instead, to add the twin millstones of utility rate hikes and massive tax increases," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "The end result is that the House passed a bill -- but it won't become law."

For more information on the bill, go to http://thomas.loc.gov, a Web site of the Library of Congress.

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