Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Written December 10, 2007: Sound Familiar?
Democratic leaders in the Senate are planning a vote on a retooled energy bill late next week after they failed to muster enough support yesterday to prevent a filibuster of ambitious legislation passed by the House on Thursday.
The Senate voted 53 to 42 yesterday to close debate, falling short of the 60 votes needed to permit a vote on passage even though four Democratic presidential candidates rushed back from the campaign trail to bolster the measure's chances. All but three of senators who blocked a vote on the bill were Republicans; five Republicans joined with Democrats in favor of closing debate.
The failure to close debate was a victory for the major oil companies, Southeastern utilities and coal-mining firms that had opposed the legislation. One of the companies most opposed to the measure was Southern Co., the holding company for Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi utilities. The firm spent $7.1 million on in-house lobbying efforts and an additional $1.1 million for outside lobbying firms on energy and environmental issues in the first half of this year.
On Thursday, the House had brushed aside a veto threat from [then] President Bush and approved an energy bill that would raise vehicle mileage standards for the first time in 32 years, set a quota of 36 billion gallons a year for the use of ethanol and other biofuels, and require increased use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity. The bill would also raise $21 billion in revenue over 10 years, largely through ending tax breaks for the nation's biggest oil companies, while extending tax incentives for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.