Senate Democrats are committed to solving America’s energy crisis. That is why Democrats went out of their way to address Republican concerns about the renewable energy tax credits and tax extenders bill. But despite Democratic efforts Republicans continued to block this critical legislation. Senate Republicans knew full-well that blocking this bill would put an end to any agreement to deal with other energy amendments but they did it anyway. The American people are left with only one conclusion: Republicans are more interested in talking than solving problems. Their claims to want to do something about our nation’s energy crisis are disingenuous at best.
On Monday, When Senator Reid Offered Debate and Votes on Domestic Production, Senator McConnell Said He Would Give Him an Answer Later
Mr. Reid: Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent — Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that when the senate considers S. 3268, the bill be considered in the following manner: There will be three hours of general debate on the bill equally divided and controlled between the leaders or their designees with only first-degree amendments in order be those listed in the agreement and the second-degree amendments relevant to the first-degree to which offered be in order. Provided further that if the managers and leaders acting jointly determine a side by side strategy is appropriate to address the amendments in order in lieu of a second-degree the side by side would be in order with the majority side getting the first vote; the debate time on any amendment be limited to two hours equally divided and controlled in the usual form, that each amendment, first- and second-degree amendment be an affirmative 60-vote threshold.
That if it achieves that threshold, that it be agreed to and motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. If it is not achieved with an affirmative 60-vote, then it be withdrawn.
The Republican amendments would be offshore drilling, oil shale amendment, nuclear energy, and then there’s a package of, I think there’s 42 cosponsors in a package they have relating to energy.
Democrat amendments, we would have four amendments. Upon disposition of all the amendments, the bill be read a third time and the Senate vote on passage with no intervening action or debate. Ours could be second degree or side-by-side and as has been the standard around here on issues like this, 60 vote threshold. And this would take care of issues we understand are important to the minority: offshore drilling, oil shale exploration, nuclear energy, and the omnibus package they put together.
The Presiding Officer: Is there objection?
Mr. McConnell: Without objection – Mr. President?
The Presiding Officer: The Republican leader.
Mr. McConnell: Reserving the right to object, let me say to my good friend the Majority Leader, I think we are getting very close — I think we are getting very close to reach an agreement to go forward. This is a significant step in the direction I had hoped we might take. I would ask my good friend, I have a leadership meeting here in an hour or so and I would like to consult with my leadership team about the proposal that he has offered.
Mr. Reid: I withdraw the consent and will reorder it at a later time. [Congressional Record, 7/28/08]
On Tuesday, Before Caucus Lunches, Senator Vitter Announced that He Personally Had Seven Amendments on Energy That He Would Like to Have Considered
Senator Vitter Said He Had Seven Energy Amendments That He Would Like the Senate to Consider. “I have filed seven amendments specifically, and I wish to outline them briefly… Mr. President, other Senators have good ideas. I strongly support, obviously, my seven amendments. I have worked hard on them. I have cosponsors and I have introduced them. There are other good ideas as well. The main point is we need an open process. We need the ability to call up amendments, to debate amendments, and to have votes on these good ideas because the American people want us to act like grown-ups and act on this single most important issue they face in their everyday lives.” [Senator Vitter Floor Statement, 7/29/08]
On Tuesday Afternoon, Senate Republicans Rejected Senator Reid’s Offer of 4 Amendments Per Side.
Senator Reid Told Reporters That Senate Republicans Had Rejected His Offer of 4 Amendments Per Side.
Reporter: Aren’t we headed to — except for the privilege resolution, Senator, aren’t we, sort of, headed toward a stalemate for the rest of the week? Because Republicans have said they’re not going to let you off with speculation. So how are you going to go to extenders? Or are you, sort of, issuing a challenge to them?
Senator Reid: The choice is theirs. I’m happy to work with them. We offered four amendments. They turned that down and said they wanted more. [Senator Reid Press Conference, 7/29/08]
On Tuesday Afternoon, Senator Reid Made Clear to Senate Republicans That There Would Be No Deal on Energy Amendments If They Filibustered Tax Extenders
Reporter: Are you saying, then, that, if Republicans filibuster the tax extenders bill, you will not agree to any sort of deal on amendments for the oil speculation bill?
Senator Reid: That’s right. [Senator Reid Press Conference, 7/29/08]
In the Last 24 Hours, Republicans Have Filibustered the Tax Extenders Bill Twice
On Tuesday Afternoon, Senate Republicans Blocked the Tax Extenders and Renewable Energy Tax Credits Bill. Senate Republicans voted against the motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to the bill that would extend dozens of expired or expiring tax provisions for one year and create new energy-related tax incentives. Motion rejected 53-43: R 4-43; D 47-0; I 2-0. [Senate Vote #190, HR 6049, 7/29/03]
Today, Senate Republicans Blocked the Tax Extenders and Renewable Energy Tax Credits Bill Again. Senate Republicans voted against the motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to the bill that would extend dozens of expired or expiring tax provisions for one year and create new energy-related tax incentives. It also would appropriate $8 billion to the Highway Trust Fund. Motion rejected 51-43: R 5-42; D 44-1; I 2-0. [Senate Vote #192, S. 3335, 7/30/08]