Investor's Business Daily is reporting that the ethanol bill has died. Again.
Efforts to revive languishing energy legislation ran into procedural roadblocks in the Senate Thursday.
In an odd twist earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., sought to add an amendment to an unrelated Internet tax moratorium bill that would enact popular ethanol provisions of the energy bill that stalled out in the Senate last fall.
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., sought to do Daschle one better, offering an amendment to Daschle's measure that would enact the entire, slimmed-down energy package that Domenici has sought to move to the floor since earlier this year.
In back-to-back procedural votes, however, both measures failed to garner the 60-vote supermajorities needed to end debate, or "invoke cloture", in Senate parlance, and force votes on the actual amendments.
The motion to invoke cloture on the Daschle amendment failed 41-58, while the Domenici measure failed 55-43.
A GOP-brokered House-Senate compromise on an energy bill cleared the House last year but was unable to reach cloture in the Senate last fall.
Note that last sentence. It is extremely important. Daschle had one shot last November to pass an ethanol bill. As noted in Congress Daily at the time, he didn't even try. He went out and signed copies of his book instead--as Senator Grassley said at the time, the November vote was the last train to leave. Daschle betrayed his constituents by not lifting a finger to get the ethanol bill passed last fall, before the election-year warfare became too intense. Partisanship and obstructionism was more important to him. The failure of the ethanol bill, the most important piece of legislation for South Dakota in years, rests squarely on his shoulders. As the son of a South Dakota corn farmer and the grandson of two South Dakota corn farmers, I'm embarassed for Daschle.