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GOP to Accept Energy Deal

According to a senior GOP aide, Senate Republicans will accept Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) offer to allow votes on four amendments to the leader’s oil markets speculation bill.

But it’s unclear how a just-completed vote against proceeding to a popular package of tax extenders will play into the dealmaking.

Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been negotiating the way forward on a bill that would crack down on speculation in the oil futures market, which is sponsored by Reid and other members of the Democratic leadership. The GOP wants to open up more land to domestic drilling.

With only three more days before the chamber breaks for the summer recess and in light of the scandal surrounding Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the pressure had been on Republicans to end the impasse on the energy debate. That way, they could go home with some positive news for angry consumers reeling from high gas prices.

For the past week, GOP lawmakers have blocked all legislation unrelated to reducing gasoline prices, arguing that an energy bill should be the first priority before they leave town.

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