First, cap-and-trade died. Then, the Kerry-Lieberman bill. Then, a renewable electricity standard and most other scraps of remaining energy reform policy. The dregs of an energy bill were folded into legislation responding to the oil spill that has now -- lo and behold! -- died.
Harry Reid announced today that he would not bring the spill bill to the floor for a vote before recess. The bill encountered hurdles surrounding the liability cap for oil companies that experienced spills and a last-minute push to regulate a controversial method of extracting natural gas. Republicans demanded a vote on an alternative spill bill they'd drafted, and Democrats were missing two key votes from Mary Landrieu and Mark Begich, neither of whom want to eliminate the liability cap altogether.
Reid had made clear that he would not accept amendments on the bill for fear that Republicans would tack on partisan initiatives -- including a bid to stall EPA regulations on carbon emissions that are set to begin in January -- and delay a vote. But without Landrieu, Begich, or a single Republican, Reid had no chance of reaching 60 votes to prevent a filibuster -- the only way to pass legislation in today's Senate.