Opponents Block Vote on Energy Bill in Senate

A massive and highly controversial energy bill stalled out in the Senate this morning, when its supporters fell two short of the necessary 60 votes to end debate on the legislation. Those in favor of the bill, which has already been passed by the House, argue that it would increase and diversify energy sources and help some farmers by encouraging the use of corn-based ethanol fuel. Opponents, including six Republicans, most Democrats, and virtually all environmentalists, say it is environmentally unfriendly, too expensive (an estimated $33 billion over the next decade), and little more than a hodgepodge of giveaways to special interests. The failure to force a vote was a major blow for the Bush administration, which wants to pass the bill by the end of this year.