Reid Punting on Oil Spill Bill

Posted August 3, 2010 at 2:00pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scrapped plans to bring up an oil spill liability bill this week, the Nevada Democrat announced Tuesday afternoon.

Reid left open the possibility that the measure would be brought up when Congress returns from August recess in September. The recess is scheduled to begin Friday.

Reid said “several Republicans said they need more time to consider our bill” and said he hopes that delaying the debate will lead them to support the measure later this year.

He promised earlier this year to bring up a broad energy bill but settled on a more narrow measure dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and modest energy-efficiency incentives. A rift in the Senate Democratic caucus over a controversial proposal to cap carbon emissions prevented Reid from finding consensus on a larger climate change measure or even an Energy and Natural Resources Committee package focused on renewable and alternative energy sources.

But Reid’s efforts on the oil spill bill were hampered from the beginning by a lack of enthusiasm within his Conference as well as opposition from a handful of oil-state Democratic Senators who objected to lifting liability caps.