Senate Democrats

Reid: Republicans Must Not Run Away From Another Opportunity To Help Americans Suffering From High Energy Costs

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

HOUSING 

“For most Americans, yesterday was an ordinary Summer Friday.  But for 8,500 families, it was a terrible day.  Those 8,500 families received foreclosure notices.  They joined the 8,500 who received their notice the day before and the day before that.  Eight thousand five hundred families won’t receive their foreclosure notices today or tomorrow, but only because the courthouses are closed for the weekend.  On Monday, the foreclosure drumbeat will continue.

“In Nevada, one out of every 43 homes is now in foreclosure.  But for families who check their mailbox with trepidation each day, hoping a notice has not arrived but knowing it may soon, knowing a foreclosure notice could be coming, today the United States Senate will deliver some rare and much-needed good news.

“We are on the verge of passing a bipartisan housing bill that will help rebuild communities, safeguard future housing meltdowns, and most importantly, help at-risk families keep their homes.

“It has taken far too long to reach this point.  The housing bill was introduced in February.  And work began in the fall of last year.  It has taken many months to reach this point.  It has taken seven cloture votes.  It has taken a presidential veto threat, followed by a retraction of that threat.

“As some Republicans have continued to stall, families have continued to lose their homes.  But today, at long last, a ray of hope – a chance to turn the page on the housing crisis and begin a new chapter that gives more families a chance at the American Dream of responsible homeownership.”

LIHEAP 

“Immediately after voting on the housing bill, we will turn to a motion to proceed to LIHEAP.  Republicans have expended countless hours of floor time and many barrels of ink talking about the need to do something about energy prices.

“While Republicans have endlessly talked, Democrats have been proposing comprehensive solutions.

“Yesterday, Republicans refused to join us in a bill to stem the excessive speculation by Wall Street traders who artificially bid up the price of oil for their own profit.  That was a plan that Republicans had previously claimed to support.  But when it came time to take action, Republicans changed their tune.

“When we offered Republicans a vote on the very thing they claim to want more than anything – offshore drilling – they said no.  Now, Democrats are proposing improvements to the LIHEAP program.

“This is yet another bipartisan opportunity to help Americans cope with our energy crisis.  It assists senior citizens, low-income families and the disabled afford to heat their homes in winter and cool them during periods of excessive heat in summer.

“Nevadans who are facing summertime temperatures well above 100 degrees know just how important it is to keep our homes reasonably cool.  Since 2001, Americans are paying three times as much for heating oil and twice as much for propane.  As these energy costs have skyrocketed, LIHEAP has been hamstrung to provide necessary assistance.  And as the winter months grow near, this problem will only grow worse.

“This legislation has rightly earned bipartisan support, with a dozen Republican cosponsors.  It is regrettable that Republicans could force us to waste valuable hours on a cloture vote.  It is unimaginable that Republicans might choose to block us from passing this worthy legislation.  I hope that will not be the case.  Republicans say they want to legislate on energy.  They had the chance yesterday and didn’t take it.  They have the chance again today, and we will soon see what they choose to do today.

“If Republicans choose to join us in passing LIHEAP, we welcome their votes with open arms.  But if Republicans choose to block this legislation, they will have to shoulder the burden of millions of low-income families, senior citizens and Americans with disabilities who are struggling and suffering to pay their ever-rising energy bills.”

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