As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held a cloture vote this morning, trying to force a vote on the energy bill. It failed 53-42.
There isn’t much time left this session. Reid has two choices: one, he could follow Pelosi’s bold lead, keep the entire package together, and force Republicans to actually filibuster it — find out if corn-state legislators want to vote against an RFS. Find out if the Republican Party wants to go on record opposing the first boost in CAFE in over 30 years.
Alternatively, Reid could wheel and deal in the smoky back rooms: strip the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the tax package out of the bill, leaving just the RFS and CAFE, and try to vote the resulting (crappy) bill through. At this point it looks like that’s going to be his play, since he’s already talking to the press about it.
Bush would definitely veto a bill with an RPS and tax package in it. Will he veto a bill without them? He certainly has been talking like he will; he has all but vowed to veto any bill that diverts in any way from his pathetic "20 by 10" plan.
If Bush is going to veto regardless, this is now about good politics, not good policy. It seems to me that for once, Reid should actually force Republicans to do what they threaten. Force them to visibly obstruct a good bill rather than killing it in the shadows.
Apparently he feels otherwise. Sigh.