Congress’ waiting game: Energy bill, COOL, spending

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SALEM, Ohio – Congress headed home for the holidays last week, leaving unfinished business on the table in Washington.

The U.S. House passed the proposed energy bill in a landslide decision, but in a much closer margin, the Senate blocked the final vote.

The block will likely mean the energy legislation debate will be carried over to next year.

The energy bill, which would be the first overhaul of the nation’s policy in more than a decade, would reportedly double the amount of corn used in ethanol production to 2 billion bushels by 2012.

Spending bill. In addition, the omnibus spending bill is also in limbo. The House was scheduled to vote on the bill in early December, but according to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Senate leaders do not plan on voting before January.

COOL stalemate. Another hot topic, country-of-origin labeling, may also be in a stalemate. The controversial COOL was tacked onto the spending bill.

According to the Associated Press, bargainers agreed to put COOL on hold for the next two years.

The mandatory labeling law is scheduled to start in September.

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