Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate before filing for cloture on the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act:
“Republicans have two tools in their Obstruction and Delay Tool Kit: First – prevent the Senate from getting to bills. The Republican Leader uses this tool when he can convince enough of his caucus to kill legislation before Senate debate can even begin.
“Second – when a bill is so popular that the Republican Leader is unable to convince enough of his colleagues to kill it before debate can begin, he switches to his second tool: Claim the process is unfair. The Republican leader requests an unlimited or virtually unlimited number of amendments that he is usually unable or unwilling to provide specifics on. When these requests are not accepted in their entirety – as the Republican Leader knows and they cannot be – he then turns to his caucus and asks it to oppose any further action on the bill.
“Regardless of which tool the Minority Leader uses, the result is the same: Republicans refuse to let us address the most critical priorities of the American people.
“This situation reminds me of the old lawyer story which said if you have the facts you pound the facts. If you have the law, you pound the law. And if you have neither you pound the table.
“That’s exactly what’s happening here today and has unfortunately happened a record number of times this session of Congress. Eighty-four filibusters now – that’s obstruction on steroids.
“Republicans would love to muddy the issue by claiming that the Democratic majority won’t let them be heard. Nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats have proposed a comprehensive plan to address our energy crisis. The Republican plan can be summarized in just three words: drill, drill, drill.
“Both parties want more drilling. We both believe that increasing domestic production is one part of the solution. The Democratic approach to drilling is different than the Republican approach. We believe ours is far more responsible: We force the oil companies to use the land they currently lease but don’t use before giving them even more land. We think that’s just common sense.
“But we have offered to our Republican colleagues – we will give them a vote on their drilling plan. They have said no. We have given them exactly what they claim to want, and they have said no.
“The only conclusion the American people can reach from this is that Republicans would rather talk than act; they’d rather score political points than accomplish something for the American people.
“Because the Republican leadership has refused our offer of votes on drilling, I must now file cloture to proceed with our speculation legislation – a proposal, I should mention, that Republicans have claimed in the past that they support.
“Fortunately, I am confident that the American people are seeing what Republicans are doing – talking and talking and talking about drilling, and then running for the exits when we give them the vote they’ve asked for. And I am equally confident that when given a choice of who to send to Congress, the American people will choose to send leaders who want to get things done, not politicians who seek only delay, obstruction and the failed ways of the past.”