Extenders won’t return to floor before election — Reid

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ruled out action yesterday before November on a package to renew dozens of expired tax breaks, including key incentives for renewable energy, biofuels and efficiency.

The Nevada Democrat laid the blame for the impasse at the feet of Republicans, who filibustered the so-called tax extenders bill last month to object to Reid’s management of the floor. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated that criticism today and said Republicans would continue to push for amendment votes if Reid brings the bill back up.Asked whether he had decided the extenders bill would not return to the floor before the elections, Reid said the continued impasse meant that was the case, despite the fact that the bill has broad support from the business community.

“Given another filibuster it appears that — unless the Republicans follow the direction the [U.S.] Chamber of Commerce, who wants this, and the National Association of Manufacturers — it appears the answer is yes,” Reid said at his weekly press conference.

McConnell compared the impasse over extenders to a similar showdown earlier last month over the energy efficiency bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Like the extenders legislation, the efficiency bill enjoyed broad support from the business community and numerous Republicans, but it too was blocked to protest Reid’s decision to bar consideration of amendments. (Although, in the case of Shaheen-Portman, he did offer a separate vote on stand-alone legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.)

“I think we’ve reached the point where we want the majority leader to understand we want the Senate to operate like it used to,” McConnell said. “And as soon as we have some kind of reasonable amendments process, then bills like that, which enjoy pretty broad bipartisan support, ought to pass.”