(FRIDAY, MAY 16, UPDATE)
The Washington-based web site TheHill.com reported Friday that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen wished Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have allowed amendments to be vote on in connection with her energy efficiency bill.
Republicans wanted an amendment to the Keystone pipeline attached to the Shaheen bill, but Reid did not allow it, insisting instead on separate stand-along votes on the energy-efficiency bill and the pipeline.
As a result, there was a sharp split mostly – but not entirely – along party lines and neither measure proceeded.
Shaheen reportedly told The Hill, “I think it’s very disappointing. I think we should vote on amendments. I think that’s part of why we’re here.”
When asked if Reid has been overly strict in limiting amendments, Shaheen told The Hill, “I think we should allow amendments.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee jumped on the Shaheen comments.
NRSC spokesman Brook Hougesen said, “Jeanne Shaheen has admitted what everyone else knew last week, which is that her energy legislation failed because Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote on the Keystone Pipeline. Even worse, Shaheen joined Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to block common-sense amendments on Keystone, which the majority of Granite Staters support. The Senate is a dysfunctional mess, thanks to the antics of Harry Reid and Jeanne Shaheen. Granite Staters deserve better than empty rhetoric and juvenile blame games.”
(Our earlier report on the continuing partisan feuding over the Shaheen bill and whether Republican Scott Brown’s had a role in defeating it, follows).
(Thursday, May 15:)
A story by the Huffington Post with a headline saying that Sen. Kelly Ayotte “throws” fellow Republican and New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown “under the bus” caused a brief but intense stir Thursday afternoon, from the Granite State to Washington, D.C.
The Post later changed the headline after an audio of Ayotte’s interview with its reporter was circulated widely to the media.
The lead to the story, which had said that Brown called Ayotte to lobby her against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s energy efficiency bill, was also watered down in a later version.
The Huffington Post reported earlier in the week that Brown had tried to convince GOP senators not to vote for an energy-efficiency bill sponsored by Shaheen and Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
“Scott Brown was concerned that Senator Shaheen was refusing to allow a vote on the Keystone pipeline, a commonsense and bipartisan project that would immediately create thousands of jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil,” spokesman Elizabeth Guyton told Politico in response to the first HuffPost story.
She added Thursday night:” He spoke with his colleagues earlier this week expressing concern that the Keystone pipeline was not going to be included in the bill and he expressed his opinion. He speaks with them regularly.”
After much Capitol Hill wrangling, the bill did not get enough votes to move forward after Senate Majority Leader Hary Reid refused GOP demands that an amendment backing the Keystone XL pipeline be attached.
Ayotte was among only three Republicans who voted to move the Shaheen-Portman bill forward, independent of the Keystone amendment, even though she supports Keystone. She said today she “did what I thought was best” for the the state. But the “clean” Shaheen bill failed to get the necessary 60 votes to proceed.
When today’s story appeared, alleging that Brown had lobbied Ayotte and Ayotte “throws Scott Brown under the bus,” Republicans were outraged.
GOP supporters of Brown saw to it that a transcript of the interview of Ayotte by the Huffington Post reporter was widely circulated. Eventually, the headline was changed.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange between Ayotte and Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim:
Reporter Grimm: “Have you seen the reports that Scott Brown lobbied and said I don’t’ want Shaheen to get a big victory?”
Ayotte: “I haven’t seen those reports.”
Grimm: “Did you talk to her about that at all? You haven’t heard anything about that?”
Ayotte: “No, no. You know I certainly talk to Shaheen. I actually talk to Senator Brown, too, as you might imagine. They‘re running in my state, so. But on the energy efficiency bill – for me, I had my Better Buildings Amendment in it. I wanted to see the legislation advance.
“I was very disappointed that the Majority Leader didn’t allow amendments, but my major amendment had been included and it was just on the merits that I voted.”
Reporter Grim: “What did Scott Brown tell you about – did he urge you to slow it down?”
Ayotte: “No he didn’t, I told him what my position was, he didn’t push me on that or anything.”
Reporter Grim: But he said he was against moving forward on it?”
Ayotte: “We just — obviously I talk to him regularly. There’s not much to see in it other than — the bill came up because it was on the floor but I told him what my position is, but I wasn’t lobbied on it or anything and obviously I did what I thought was best based on my state and voted the way I thought I should.”
Based on the original Huffington Post story earlier in the week, Reid took to the Senate floor and accused Brown of killing the energy efficiency bill.
In a debate on a tax extender bill, Reid said, according to the Hill, “Scott Brown, who is running for the Senate in New Hampshire, he asked the Republican caucus to make sure they didn’t give Sennator Shaheen a win on this I wonder who called them today to tell them to kill this bill … maybe it’s one of the other Republicans wanting to join the Senate.”
A Republican National Committee spokesman responded, “Senator Harry Reid is willing to go to great lengths to protect his liberal protégé Jeanne Shaheen who blindly supports him and President Obama’s agenda” Wilcox said. “While Reid continues his casual relationship with the truth, the fact is Shaheen voted for Reid’s poison pill that killed the Keystone XL pipeline.”
Brown’s campaign had no comment on the latest Ayotte-Brown story while the state Republican Party, on Twitter, likened the reporting to Democratic press releases.