No Democrats supported the bill, although Mr. Reid switched his vote to “no” on a procedural move that will allow his party to reintroduce the measure in the future.
The legislation was designed to rein in excessive speculation in the oil futures market, which has been blamed as contributing to the skyrocketing gasoline price increases. The bill would have required traders to put up more collateral in the energy futures markets, and called for federal regulation of traders who are based in the United States but use foreign trade platforms.
But Republican opponents disputed Democratic claims the measure would reduce the price of gasoline at the pump, and chastised the majority party for introducing an energy bill that would produce no new fuel sources.
“The American people have been telling us for months that the house is on fire, and the Democrats just showed up at the scene with a squirt gun,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “Americans are insisting we do more. They want us to do something to cut the price of gas and lessen our dependence on Middle East oil.”
House Democratic leaders have said they may introduce their own anti-speculation bill next week before Congress recesses for its annual month-long August break.