What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Utility Industry : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)/Motion to invoke cloture (limiting debate and bringing to a vote)
 Who: All Members
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CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)/Motion to invoke cloture (limiting debate and bringing to a vote)
senate Roll Call 224     Jun 21, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This was a procedural vote on comprehensive energy legislation aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels. The House had previously passed a version of the legislation (H.R. 6), and the Democratic majority in the Senate put their mark on it in the form of an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the House bill. This process is often used as a way to streamline the legislative process, and is often necessary because all bills dealing with revenue are constitutionally mandated to originate in the House.

As drafted by the Senate, the energy package would increase fuel-economy standards for vehicles and mandate the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2015. The legislation also would create new efficiency standards for household appliances and federal buildings as well as promote new energy technologies, including wind energy, hybrid cars, so-called clean-coal technology and carbon-dioxide sequestration (keeping carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere and thus preventing it from contributing to climate change). The bill would also make price gouging in oil markets a federal crime during presidentially declared emergencies and subject the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to U.S. antitrust laws, both provisions that drew veto threats from President Bush.

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.

This vote was on the motion to invoke cloture, and how Senators voted essentially reflected their verdict on the underlying legislation. Democrats lauded the bill as a huge step forward in breaking the country's fossil fuel habit and taking responsible stewardship of the environment. Many Republicans objected on the grounds that it focused energy policy in the wrong direction, namely by not giving sufficient support to finding new domestic sources of fossil fuels.

Seventeen Republicans crossed party lines and voted for cloture, and five Democrats broke ranks with their party to oppose it (including both Senators from Michigan, the headquarters of many car manufacturers). Thus, on a vote of 61 to 32, the Senate moved to end debate and bring up for a vote an amendment in the nature of a substitute that represented the Senate's version of energy legislation aiming to promote conservation and the use of renewable fuels with the goal of reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels. The amendment in the nature of a substitute was then adopted by voice vote and became the text of the legislation for approval by the Senate.

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