Senate Democrats

News from Outside the Beltway

Throughout the Senate energy debate, America has voiced its opinion and the Senate Democrats have listened. Democrats and most Americans recognize that a dramatic shift away from the interests of Big Oil is essential for the environmental sustainability, economic, and national security of our country.  In order to decrease our dependence on oil, America must adopt stronger fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, utilize more energy from renewable sources, and increase its domestic energy production.  Progress in these areas is exactly what the National Energy and Environmental Security Act of 2007 delivers.

We want to share with you some clips of newspapers from accross the country supporting Democratic efforts on energy independence:

Energy: 

Courier Post (NJ) – Shift U.S. investment into renewable fuel sources (6/21) - With global warming threatening our environment, it is senseless to continue investing in dinosaur fuels. It is less expensive to develop oil and coal resources for fuel, but, in terms of longtime survival, it is extremely shortsighted. Fortunately, congressional Democrats are proposing a 180 degree turn on federal energy subsidies. 

Concord Monitor – Congress Should Insist on Fuel-Efficient Cars (6/18) -Fuel economy standards for cars and trucks have not been upgraded since 1975. They must be now. New Hampshire Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu should vote yes on the higher standards on the table in the Senate and reject the auto industry’s low-octane substitutes. They should do so to save the lungs of their constituents, free America’s economy from the grip of hostile oil-producing nations, keep consumers from driving their way to the poorhouse, increase security for the United States and its troops… 

The Post & Courier (SC) – Revive the Energy Bill (6/17) - The Senate should jump-start the energy bill that stalled Thursday. It should also ensure that legislation isn’t compromised in a manner that undermines its essential aim of promoting significant advances in alternative energy development, conservation and motor-vehicle fuel efficiency… Both chambers of Congress should make this issue a top priority.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (IN) – The Big Stall (6/17) - Leaders from the Big Three U.S. automakers are arguing against even minimal improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency. Their foot-dragging is costing consumers a large chunk of change and endangering the competitiveness of American automobile companies.

Billings Gazette (MT) – Congress Must Drive Change on Fuel Economy (6/17) - With so many Americans fuming about gas prices, it’s high time to demand that Congress take action. Motorists need more control over how much and what type of fuel they use. They need better choices in alternate fuels and fuel-efficient vehicles…The energy bill of 2007 must be a vehicle for greater fuel economy and speedier innovation in cleaner alternative fuels…

Salt Lake Tribune – Hold the Line (6/16) -The long knives of the auto industry are out to weaken the new fuel efficiency standards in the energy bill now before Congress. But the automakers have resisted any changes in the standard for cars for 18 years, and they should not be rewarded now for belatedly coming to the table with a compromise…The technology exists, so there’s no good reason to relax the standards proposed in the original bill.

Star Ledger (NJ) – An Energy Bill that Makes Sense (6/16) - America needs a serious energy bill that increases fuel efficiency, cuts pollution and begins to curb the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Nevada Appeal – Alternative energy – the next big thing (6/15) - It’s good to see Sen. Harry Reid taking the lead on a more rational and enlightened national energy policy that will not only be good for the environment but also will reduce this country’s dependence on foreign oil…The federal government must take the lead in changing the collective mindset of the population from one of consumption to one of conservation and sustainability. Market forces alone are seldom enough to effect huge paradigm shifts 

Des Moines Register – Focus Energy Bill on Conservation, Research (6/11)  – …Three-dollar-a-gallon gas prices are pinching family budgets, with little chance for relief in sight. Americans are uneasy about energy security in an unstable world and the catastrophic specter of global warming. A smart energy policy would encourage less use of fossil fuels and pour more investment and brainpower into the clean fuels that will power our future.

Long Island Newsday – Jolly Green Senator (6/11) - Actually, the more effective approach would be to increase the fuel efficiency of all American cars. Congress can do that in the near future, as it debates energy legislation. The automakers are trying to kill real change, but they have no case."

San Francisco Chronicle – Directing Detroit (6/11) -Fortunately, Congress is finding its backbone after 20 years of letting Detroit have its way. This week, the Senate is expected to take up legislation to boost fuel efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The proposal is long overdue, and, in a sign of how times have changed, Detroit is having trouble scaring legislators with the threat of closed plants and lost jobs.  The biggest reason? Those jobs and plants have already been lost, thanks to carmakers who saw the future early.

Poughkeepsie Journal – Better Mileage Secures U.S. (6/11) - American automakers appeared before Congress Wednesday, pleading for a halt to plans to jack up fuel efficiency standards.  This time, Congress must say no…The Senate is taking up a measure far more ambitious and worthwhile; it would raise the average to 35 mpg by 2020 and do so incrementally. A number of studies, including one from the National Academy of Sciences, have found these targets can be achieved in cost-effective and safe ways, despite the industry’s arguments.  

Hartford Courant – Getting GM to Stretch (6/10) - The nation that determined to send a man to the moon within a decade in the 1960s is capable of increasing automobile fuel efficiency by 10 miles per gallon in the next 13 years. If that’s unachievable, then we might as well cede the automobile business to Japan.

Orlando Sentinel – Taking Congress for a Ride (6/10) - A bipartisan Senate proposal would raise the average efficiency for cars and light trucks from 25 to 35 miles per gallon over the next decade. This isn’t unreasonable; the National Academy of Sciences concluded in 2002 that a gradual increase to 37 mpg would be both cost effective and safe.  U.S. automakers are pushing weaker, loophole-filled proposals. They’re trying to take Congress for a ride. 

Las Vegas Sun – New Outlook on Energy (6/9) – …The Senate, for example, is expected to vote next week on a bill that would require auto manufacturers to increase the average fuel economy of their cars and trucks about 10 miles per gallon by 2020, and achieve increases of 4 percent a year for the decade after that. This would greatly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases…The bills in the House and Senate are signs that the people we send to Congress – not the fossil-fuel industries and auto manufacturers – might now be back in charge of the nation’s energy policies.  

In addition we wanted to bring your attention to the following stories concerning Iraq, immigration reform and stem cell research:

Iraq/Veterans:

Philadelphiea Enquirer – Truth-telling and Abu Ghraib (6/20) -The way the Iraq war has been conducted, the Pentagon has been a tough place to be a truth-teller. Just ask Antonio Taguba. Taguba was the two-star general who in 2004 was asked to investigate the first whistle-blower reports about torture at Abu Ghraib…In an interview in this week’s New Yorker magazine, Taguba says that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s claims of ignorance about the real scope of the Abu Ghraib crimes struck him as phony then – and still do.

Daily Press (VA) – Webb critical of troop extensions (6/19) - Virginia Sen. Jim Webb criticized the Army’s top civilian leader Tuesday for extending soldiers’ deployments to 15 months, saying the three-month increase is damaging the health of American troops…Webb, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska have offered legislation aimed at restricting future deployments of U.S. troops. The two men…have said their measure would ensure that troops get adequate time at home and are fully equipped and ready before being sent on another deployment.

Honolulu Advertiser – Job Help for Veterans must be a Priority (6/18) – …Hawai’i Sen. Daniel Akaka, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has been holding hearings on the range of job services available to returning servicemen and women…It is bad enough that the medical and psychological services available to returning soldiers have in some cases fallen short of the mark. If a veteran comes back healthy and ready to work in the civilian sector, it is only fair that his or her government do everything possible to make sure that happens.

The Columbian (WA) – Veterans at Risk (6/17) - On paper, last week was a bad-news week for American veterans who are grappling with psychiatric problems, especially in the Puget Sound area. But the danger flags hoisted by  news of veterans’ suicides — both actual and potential — also signaled good news: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and veterans hospitals themselves treat such warnings quickly and seriously.

Seattle Post Intelligencer – Health Care: Better Care for Vets (6/13) -We need to improve mental health care for our veterans in the worst way. It seems that even if our armed forces survive their tours of duty, returning home is no guarantee of survival. The results of a study, published Monday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, indicate that male U.S. veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide, most likely using a gun. 

Immigration/Homeland Security:

Baltimore Sun – Passport shock (6/18) – The Department of Homeland Security’s failure to anticipate the impact of new passport rules for travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean has created a panic…Since Memorial Day, the fear of being forced to cancel vacation plans because travel documents haven’t yet arrived has grown to the point where federal lawmakers from…across the country have had to convert their offices into auxiliary passport agencies. 

Honolulu Advertiser – Get the Job Done on Immigration Reform (6/11) - …With nearly 12 million immigrants waiting in the wings and after decades political failures, it’s time for members of Congress to roll up their sleeves and work together. Taxpayers deserve sensible immigration reform. Further delays and partisan bickering just won’t cut it. 

Stem Cells:

Chicago Tribune – Stem Cell Déjà vu (6/15) – …Given the stances of many top presidential candidates on this issue, it’s likely that the next president will reverse Bush’s stand and allow the research more room to grow. We hope so. We’ve supported allowing federal funding for stem cell lines derived from thousands of embryos created in fertility clinics that would otherwise be discarded. At the moment, private money is helping this field to flourish. But there’s nothing that would galvanize this vital research like an infusion of federal dollars. 

Honolulu Advertiser – Stem cell research should not be vetoed (6/11) – There is no denying the ethical dilemmas that come with embryonic stem cell research…But this is not a black-and-white issue. It is a decision that must be based on reason, not personal beliefs…the president has the opportunity to approve research that can possibly provide cures and give hope to the suffering. Let’s hope reason will prevail.

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