(CNN) - A Senate vote this week to approve the controversial Keystone pipeline- a vote that appears unlikely to pass-now may not happen at all.
The measure, a top priority for Republicans and several centrist Democrats, is entangled in partisan wrangling over a separate energy efficiency bill.
Democratic leaders warned GOP senators they would not be allowed to amend the energy bill. In addition, they said Republicans would only get a vote on Keystone if they don’t block the energy efficiency measure.
“If they want to vote on Keystone, they can vote Keystone, but enough is enough,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declaring amendments on the energy efficiency bill off limits.
Republicans insisted they be allowed four or five amendments to the bill and warned they would filibuster the energy bill if they didn’t get them.
“We haven’t had a fulsome energy debate in the Senate since 2007. Seven years ago,” McConnell said. “What we’re asking for here is four or five amendments related to the subject of energy, one of the biggest issues in our country. That is hardly obstructionism.”
“It seems like this is nothing but a game of diversion and obstruction to many Senate Republicans,” complained Reid about what he described as shifting list of GOP demands for amendments. “Every time a group of Republicans feigns interest in bipartisanship, only to scramble away at the last moment. It is part of a calculated political scheme.”
Republicans have long chafed against the Democratic majority for routinely preventing GOP amendments and complained they’ve only been allowed votes on eight of their own amendments since last July.
Republicans accused the Democratic leadership of playing politics with the efficiency bill by blocking votes on hot-button energy and environmental issues – such preventing new EPA regulations of coal-fired electrical plants – which the White House and several centrist Democrats up for re-election want to avoid.