June 10, 2003
Senate Majority and Democratic leaders are looking to put together a finite list of amendments for the energy bill. Such a list -- common on big bills -- is an effort to limit first-degree amendments and define the amendment universe for S. 14. As the below history of last year’s energy bill indicates, Senate Dems are giving more cooperation along these lines than was received last year. A unanimous consent agreement will be needed to make such a mega-list final, as well as for any universal time agreement. While UC probably will be reached for a finite list, my chances of winning Wednesday’s $65 million Powerball are better than the odds of gaining UC this week on a universal time agreement. Be that as it may, some senators are making a case for both. So, for reporters, we offer this perspective on process when comparing where we are now with S. 14 with the consideration S. 517, the energy bill in the last Congress: Length of Debate: The Senate debated S. 517 on 24 days in seven weeks (not counting President’s Day or Easter recesses), spanning an 11-week period from Feb. 15 through April 25, 2002. Number of Amendments: During this time, the Senate adopted 126 amendments and rejected 18 others. In addition, 17 amendments were withdrawn … three were vitiated … and one fell when an underlying amendment was tabled. There were 35 roll call votes on amendments. Unanimous Consent Requests: At no time during consideration of S. 517 did the Senate enter into a unanimous consent agreement to limit amendments, though two attempts were made to draw up a finite list of amendments. The first list was assembled after three weeks of debate, on March 22, 2002, the day before the start of the Easter recess. By that time, the Senate had been debating the bill for 13 days, and had already adopted 45 amendments and had rejected five others. The tentative list contained 163 amendments, 101 from Democratic Senators and 53 from Republican Senators. The second list was assembled on April 10, 2002, during the fourth full week of debate. By that time, the Senate had been debating the bill for 16 days, and had already adopted 52 amendments and had rejected six others. The tentative list contained 233 amendments -- 130 from Democratic Senators and 103 from Republican Senators. Cloture: A cloture petition was filed on Amendment No. 2917 (the Daschle-Bingaman substitute to S. 517) during the fifth full week of debate, on April 18, 2002. By that time, the Senate had been debating the bill for 20 days, and had already adopted 58 amendments and had rejected seven others. Cloture was invoked on April 23, 2002. By that time, the Senate had been debating the bill for 22 days, and had already adopted 72 amendments and had rejected seven others.