Energy bill may get reprieve in Senate

Feb. 6, 2004 at 3:31 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. will offer a scaled-back version of failed GOP energy legislation as an amendment to the pending transportation spending bill.

Sources on Capitol Hill say the GOP lawmaker is expected to make the move to attach a slimmer version of the controversial package to the Senate bill sometime next week.

The energy bill failed to gain passage in December due to the opposition of most Senate Democrats and some conservative Republicans opposed to the pork in the measure.

But the highway construction bill Domenici seeks to amend is already in trouble with action on the measure slowed by critics of its $31 billion price tag and corporate-centered provisions.

The GOP leadership is concerned the amendment could further hamper chances for the measure's approval.

What has been stripped from the energy package remains unclear at this point, with much of the support of the measure from Democrats in the Senate -- the result of massive earmarks for projects in individual states and spending things like ethanol subsidies that are important to key special interests.

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