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Amendments threaten to scuttle Senate Keystone deal

A deal to allow a vote on passage of the Keystone XL pipeline may fall apart after Majority Leader Harry Reid said he won't allow GOP amendments on a clean energy bill.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   May 6, 2014 at 6:21 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- A standoff between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, over amendments to an energy efficiency bill, may sink a deal for a vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Reid said he would hold the line on refusing to allow five GOP-sponsored amendments to an energy bill, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on which Republicans joined with Democrats, 79-20, to begin debate Tuesday.

But it was not clear if those Republicans would agree to vote to end debate on the bill and allow a vote for final passage without the amendments. And without an up-or-down vote on Shaheen-Portman, Reid won't bring a vote on the Keystone bill to the floor.

“If they want to vote on Keystone, they can have a vote on Keystone, but enough is enough,” Reid said. If the Shaheen-Portman measure is passed, Reid said, he would allow a vote on Keystone "a day or two" later.

At a press conference on Tuesday, McConnell reiterated his complaint that Reid has only allowed votes on a few GOP amendments since July. He said he wants to attach amendments to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency clean air regulations and approval of liquified natural gas exports to World Trade Organization Member countries, including Ukraine.

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