WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today pushed off a planned vote on legislation to reform rules for off-shore oil drilling, because the bill lacked the votes to overcome Republican opposition.
The Senate will take up the bill again after its August recess, Reid said in a news conference today. “It's a sad day when you can't find a handful of Republicans to support a bill that would create up to 700,000 clean energy jobs, hold BP accountable, and look at a future as it relates to what BP did,” said Reid.
The House last week approved a version of the legislation by a vote of 209-193. Democrats say the bill would make drilling safer for workers and help prevent spills, such as the BP Gulf disaster.
“Several key Republicans have said they need more time to consider a bill and its merits,” Reid said. “I accept that in good faith. We're giving them that chance, hope it will lead to a reasonable discussion and their support.”
Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a statement that Reid’s decision not to hold a vote this week, “merely exposes what we already knew: this was an empty political exercise from the beginning."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.