GOP Filibuster of Speculation Bill Unclear

Posted July 14, 2008 at 3:46pm

Senate Republicans were mum on Monday about whether they would filibuster a proposal floated by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on curbing market speculation to combat the record-breaking gasoline prices.

Speaking to reporters, Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) said that any “serious plan” on energy would need to contain a way to increase domestic oil production.

During the briefing, Alexander mainly stuck to his talking points that all energy proposals should be considered. But he criticized Reid as having a “half a road map” for just focusing on market speculation as a way to reduce soaring gas prices. The Republican would not say, when pressed by reporters, if there would be or if he would support a GOP filibuster on Reid’s speculation bill.

Reid plans to introduce legislation, which lawmakers could potentially vote on later in the week, that would deal with market speculation, but will not allow amendments, especially on drilling.

Alexander said Republicans would likely talk about the Reid plan and decide on a course of action during the weekly policy lunches tomorrow.

Lately, Republicans have been quick to attack Reid on his allegedly unfair handling of the Senate floor, complaining primarily about being shut out from offering amendments in the way they would like.

But in truth, Republicans are unlikely to vote against curbing market speculation if it comes in a palatable form. Alexander was quick to note that market speculation is already in a Republican bill.