Senate OKs fuel-economy increase, but drops more ambitious parts of energy bill
The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed an energy bill that would raise auto fuel-economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 — but only after a more ambitious version of the bill ran into a roadblock. The more ambitious version, which the House passed last week, got a thumbs-up from 59 senators — a handful of Republicans as well as all of the Democrats except Mary Landrieu from oil-friendly Louisiana — but that was still one vote shy of the 60 needed to get it past a threatened filibuster. To push the bill through, Democratic leaders in the Senate dropped provisions that would have required utilities to get 15 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020 and would have cut tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies. The revised bill now goes back to the House for approval; the White House says President Bush will sign it.