What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Utility Industry : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Max Baucus (D-N.M.) amendment to add tax incentives to promote the development of renewable energy and require utility companies to generate more power from cleaner fuels/Motion to invoke cloture
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CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Max Baucus (D-N.M.) amendment to add tax incentives to promote the development of renewable energy and require utility companies to generate more power from cleaner fuels/Motion to invoke cloture
senate Roll Call 223     Jun 21, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This vote was on a motion to invoke cloture - to end debate and bring up for a vote - on an energy tax package aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

The tax package was proposed as an amendment by Sen. Max Baucus (D-N.M.) to comprehensive energy legislation that would increase the fuel efficiency requirements for cars and trucks, mandate the use of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, create new efficiency standards for household appliances as well as federal buildings and promote new technologies.

Baucus's amendment would have provided tax incentives for renewable energy and require utility companies to generate more power from cleaner fuels.

Cloture is the only procedure in the Senate that restricts the amount of time a bill may be considered. Under Senate rules, cloture requires three-fifths of the chamber, normally 60 votes. In recent years, because of a highly contentious relationship between the two parties, such a supermajority has been required to handle much of the Senate's business because without cloture any member can threaten to hold the chamber's agenda hostage by refusing to turn over control of the floor, an act known as a filibuster.

Democrats lauded the tax package as a huge step forward in breaking the country's fossil fuel habit and taking responsible stewardship of the environment. Republicans objected primarily on the grounds that it would pay for the tax breaks and federal incentives by raising taxes on the oil and gas industry.

"They're going to raise the cost of gasoline at the pump for American consumers," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Kyl further pointed out that the bill doesn't produce any new energy.

Democrats complained that Republicans were just carrying water for the oil and gas industry to the detriment of American security, safety and long-term prosperity. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pointed out that the energy industry would have surrendered just $34 billion out of $1 trillion in profits during the next decade under the terms of the bill. "They do pretty well here on Capitol Hill," Reid said.

Democrats had enough Republicans to help reach the 60-vote threshold, but Mary Landrieu (D-La.), voted no, and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was out of town awaiting the birth of a grandchild. The motion to invoke cloture failed on by a vote of 57 to 36. Reid was the third "no" vote among Democrats, a parliamentary move designed to preserve his right to ask for a revote at a later time, which is only allowable when the Senator requesting the reconsideration voted with the majority. Ten Republicans crossed party lines to vote to cut off debate and bring the energy legislation up for a vote, but it wasn't enough, and thus a bill aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels by promoting alternative energy sources, innovation and conservation failed to muster enough votes to be brought to the floor for a vote.

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