WASHINGTON -- A growing alliance between Democratic leaders and the natural gas industry looks like it's bearing fruit for both sides, with Democrats backing a measure that could mean billions in profits for their industry.

The partnership is the result of years of effort by tycoon T. Boone Pickens to shed a well-earned partisan image and work productively with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The measure, which has been submitted as an amendment to the $109 billion transportation bill before the Senate this week, could produce billions in subsidies for natural gas companies, according to people on and off the Hill working on the legislation.

A cloture vote on the larger transportation bill failed Tuesday, but aides said a deal to advance the bill could be cut soon. A cloture vote requires 60 votes to move legislation to a floor debate. Democrats, with 53 members of the Senate, need Republican support to break a filibuster.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article undervalued the transportation legislation as a $19 billion bill. It is a $109 billion bill.

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