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Senate Heads to Beach, Forgets About Gulf

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Well, the Senate has decided to wait until September to work out a compromise on the energy bill, crafted in response to the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It may be a good thing,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) told Politico. “Maybe we can get some support for a renewable standard and do a little more. If there’s any hope of strengthening it and adding [a renewable electricity standard], that’ll only happen if we wait until September.”

Whoa, that's one heck of an optimistic statement for a US Senator.

Others were a bit more partisan.

“Sen. Reid is predictably blaming Republicans for standing in the way of a bill that he threw together in secret and without input from almost any other member of the Senate,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Process alone guaranteed its failure, although substance would have as well had Sen. Reid actually brought his bill up for debate or a vote.”

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said, “The key question is, Whose side are you on? ... Are you on the side of Big Oil, or are you on the side of citizens in coastal communities? I hope citizens spend the month of August asking Republicans why they oppose holding BP accountable.”

And non-Senator Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said, “Thanks to the Senate Republican leadership, they are popping champagne corks in Big Oil offices from Houston to London."

The real reason the Senate isn't working on a compromise?

Vacation for the 100 Senators begins on August 9th (this coming Monday), but they're people, too. Meaning, no work is getting done for the remainder of the week and most have probably already left Washington. The official term for "vacation" in Senate parlance is "State Work Period" and I'm sure--absolutely sure--that the ins-and-outs of the energy bill will be top of mind for all involved as they lounge on the beach with their families or hoist a cold one while fishing with their buddies.

A Huffington Post commenter going by the handle "Bertski" sums the situation up pretty well:

"How many of us have experienced the joy of being told by an employer that we have to postpone a vacation because of pressing projects, imminent deadlines, etc.? How many business owners have skipped vacations for the good of their companies? Yet, the pompous, spoiled politicians whom the People pay to govern our nation will drop everything in the midst of multiple crises, so that they can party it up and relax.

"Look, they are as entitled to a vacation as anyone else, but when the country is in the throes of major calamities and disasters, don't the People deserve representatives who won't walk away from their responsibilities when the recess bell rings? Business before pleasure - how about it, oh great and powerful elected officials?"

Well said, Bertski.
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