Earlier this week the U.S. Senate voted 42 to 57 against S. 953 - the Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011 backed by Senate Republicans. That followed Tuesday evening’s vote that blocked S 940 - backed by Democrats - that would close big oil tax loopholes. But the vote on big oil tax breaks may not be dead - as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicts closing big oil tax loopholes will become a part of budget negotiations - though that’s not the viewpoint of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Meanwhile - questions are being asked about comprehensive energy and climate legislation. But - like every other aspect of federal operations - the question with any energy legislation is what’s the budgetary impact? Congress needs to find four-trillion dollars or more in budgetary savings over the next decade. So - cuts in present support programs are likely - and less likely are new support programs.
Unfortunately - the convergence of issues also moves lawmakers further away from a real debate over energy policy in its own right. Senator Olympia Snowe says the greatest travesty for this country is that we don’t even have an energy policy.