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Dan Tuohy has covered politics in the Granite State since 1993 and has reported from the Statehouse. A New Hampshire native, Tuohy is a past president of the New Hampshire Press Association.
May 20. 2014 10:36AM

Dave Solomon's Granite Status: Controversy over Shaheen-Portman bill lives on

The question of who killed the Shaheen-Portman energy bill, which had broad support from Democrats and Republicans, is not going away any time soon.


The New Hampshire Democratic Party on Tuesday launched an online campaign pointing the finger at former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who’s in a four-way primary for the right to face incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the fall.


The ad claims that Brown “denounces Washington gridlock and partisanship one day, then, when it serves his interest, creates some of his own — even when it means killing a bill that would create jobs and save consumers billions.”


Democrats claim that Brown called Republican senators and urged them to filibuster the bill to deny Shaheen a legislative victory.


“Scott Brown is a phony. One day he rails against gridlock and the next day, he’s creating it, putting his interests ahead of the people of New Hampshire, killing jobs and billions in savings for taxpayers,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “He can call it whatever he wants, but the reality is that he rallied opposition to kill Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan, job-creating bill. Scott Brown stopped this important legislation from passing, playing politics with a bill supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, including Senator Ayotte.”


Brown denied having anything to do with the bill’s demise, and the official version of events is that Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow amendments that would have forced an up or down vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline, for fear that the pipeline might be approved and President Obama would be forced into a veto that would not play well for Democrats in an election year.


In an email to the Union Leader, New Hampshire GOP Chairman Jennifer Horn agreed the bill had merit, but said the amendment on the Keystone pipeline should have been accepted.


“While this bill contains some positive aspects, Sen. Shaheen should stop playing politics and push for a vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline,” she wrote. “This commonsense energy project has broad support from unions, business leaders, Republicans and Democrats because it helps to create jobs and reduce our dependency on foreign sources of oil.”


The fact that the Brown campaign unleashed attacks on Shaheen’s legislative failures the day after the energy efficiency bill died didn’t help buttress the claims that Brown had nothing to do with it. Republicans on Tuesday again hammered away at what they called “Shaheen’s failed legislative record.”


In a web ad, the party says Shaheen has only been able to pass 1 of 67 bills she sponsored.


“Jeanne Shaheen’s unaccomplished term in the United States Senate has been marked by one legislative failure after another. After watching 66 of 67 of her sponsored bills die because of her ineffective leadership and rigid partisanship, Shaheen has become so desperate that she is blaming others for her abysmal record,” said Horn.


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