Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) issued a brief statement saying, "Republicans would rather cut college scholarships, slash cancer research and end Medicare than take away taxpayer-funded giveaways to oil companies that are raking in billions in profits. That tells you everything you need to know about their priorities. We could have cut our deficit by $20 billion today, but Republicans defended oil companies instead. This is exactly the kind of wasteful spending we should be cutting. Democrats are not going to stop trying to end these wasteful taxpayer giveaways. I hope next time my Republican colleagues will put America's seniors, students and middle-class families ahead of oil companies."
"They spent a week vilifying the energy industry and another week trying to punish them. The legislation they proposed yesterday would have done three things: destroy jobs, send American jobs overseas, make us more dependent on foreign sources of oil. And Democrats themselves admit it wouldn't lower gas prices by a penny. . . I would suggest that Democrats spend a little bit more time looking at the price of gas at their local gas stations than at the latest polling numbers about class warfare rhetoric. . .
"Our plan has three objectives: "First, to restore American offshore production. Second, to improve safety. Third, to require bureaucrats in Washington to get to work on the permitting process, to make a decision one way or the other. And it would have three corresponding effects: First, and most importantly, our plan would help reduce the price of gas at the pump. By unlocking our own domestic resources, and speeding up the permitting process, our plan would actually do something to increase supply, putting downward pressure on price. . . And it would create thousands of energy jobs in America, instead of sending them overseas, which is why this bill has the support of both the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. . ."
Senator McConnell said that S.953 would directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct previously scheduled offshore lease sales in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, Virginia, and Alaska. In addition, the plan will extend lease terms by one year for Gulf leases which were suspended under the 2010 Obama Moratorium. The bill establishes a public/private task force on oil spill response and mitigation, and orders a study on Federal response to oil spills by the Comptroller General to examine capabilities and legal authorities related to spill prevention and response to clarify appropriate Federal roles. Finally, the bill puts time limits on the review of and decision on drilling permits, providing for 30 days of application review with two opportunities for the Interior Department to extend the time period. Beyond that, it provides for default approval if Interior doesn't reject the application within 60 days. Additionally, it directs the Interior Department to provide rationale for rejection of permits.
Access the roll call vote for S.940 (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Reid (click here). Access the statement from the White House (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Menendez (click here). Access the statement from Sen. McConnell (click here). Access the roll call vote for S.953 (click here, posted soon). Access legislative details for S.940 (click here). Access legislative details for S.953 (click here). [*Energy/Tax]