Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Senate Again Fails To Pass Energy Legislation; May Stay In Session

Jul 30: By another close vote (51-43, 6 not voting) Senate Republicans have stopped a vote on a Democratic bill known as the Jobs, Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 (S. 3335). The bill was introduced by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). In a release, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “We have heard Republicans expend a tremendous amount of words and energy talking about our national energy crisis. Today, Democrats offer them yet another chance to stop the talking and actually do something to solve the problem. We have already offered Senate Republicans four opportunities to pass tax-extenders legislation. Today we offer a fifth chance. This tax-extender legislation provides tax incentives to private sector innovators who are discovering new ways to harness the power of the wind, the sun, geothermal, and other sources of clean, renewable energy."

In a floor statement following the vote, Majority Leader Reid said the Senate may stay in session until there is a compromise reached on energy legislation. He said the oil companies had received $609 billion in profits during the "Bush years." He outlined a number of measures that Democrats have offered and said that Republicans have blocked all measures.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continuing the Republican position that energy legislation must include provisions for opening up more oil and gas drilling opportunities said, “Voting for cloture on this bill will take us off the single most important issue in America. The American people are clamoring for legislation that would bring down high gas prices. They expect their representatives in Washington to do something about this crisis now. . . I will vote that we stay on the energy bill -- until we offer the American people a solution. I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

On the House side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a release saying, "Republicans may talk a good game, but their actions speak louder than words. Republicans have voted against the critical solutions that must be part of a comprehensive New Direction for Energy Independence. They voted against renewable energy and conservation, responsible domestic oil production, short-term measures to bring down prices now and punish those who are manipulating the oil market, and new requirements that oil companies pay their fair share. Instead of working on behalf of American families and businesses, the House Republicans’ so-called 'all of the above' energy plan simply rehashes failed ideas on domestic drilling or proposes ideas that Republicans have repeatedly blocked in the past. Their all-out legislative battle in recent years to protect the record profits of Big Oil companies earning record profits has earned them the moniker 'Grand Oil Party.' Americans paying $4 a gallon thanks to an energy policy literally written by the oil industry cannot afford this the GOP’s 'none of the above' energy plan."

Speaking on energy and the economy in Cleveland, Ohio yesterday, President Bush reiterated the Republican position saying, "The feed stock for gasoline is oil. So when you hear 'my gasoline prices are going up,' you got to understand the main reason why is because oil prices are going up. And the reason why -- again I want to repeat to you -- is that the global demand for oil is growing faster than the global supply for oil. So it seems like we ought to be figuring out how to find more oil here in the United States. . . If we're worried about your gasoline price and recognize that it's high because of the price of crude oil, and it's possible to find more oil right here in the United States so we're not shipping our money overseas -- doesn't it make sense to try to find that oil? I think it does. And here are some places where we can. One place where there is a -- the experts say is a bountiful supply of oil, perhaps as much as 10 years' worth at current consumption rates, is in the Outer Continental Shelf."

Access a release from Senator Reid (click here). Access a release from Senator McConnell (click here). Access the President's Cleveland speech (click here). Access the Senate roll call vote (click here). Access legislative details for S. 3355 which includes links to floor statements (click here). Access a release from Speaker Pelosi listing House measures that Republicans have opposed (click here). [*Energy]