Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today as a bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators prepared to unveil an energy proposal to reduce gas prices, lessen our nation’s dependence on oil, and strengthen the economy. Reid also sent a letter Wednesday to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, below, encouraging him to join Reid in helping to organize a bipartisan summit to develop legislation that begins to solve the energy crisis:
“This proposal includes some very good ideas to address our country’s many energy-related challenges, and while I do not agree with every part of it, I very much appreciate the bipartisan spirit in which it was constructed. Along with the National Clean Energy Summit I will host this month in Nevada and September’s bipartisan energy summit, this group’s ideas should be helpful as we craft comprehensive energy legislation.
“I am hopeful this plan can begin to break the current legislative stalemate on the Senate floor. The American people deserve a real debate with productive Senate action on bipartisan proposals to help make energy more abundant, secure and affordable for America’s families and businesses.”
July 30, 2008
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator McConnell,
Several weeks ago, we received a letter from a bipartisan group of 10 Senators asking us to jointly convene a one-day energy summit to facilitate the development of comprehensive legislation to address America’s energy challenges.
Before we adjourned for the July 4th recess, I had made it clear that I intended to bring legislation to the floor during the July work period that would reduce energy prices and the burden on American families. It was my strong hope at that time that we would be able to work together this month to pass measures that would do just that.
To this end, I brought to the Senate three different energy-related measures – S. 3268 Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008, S. 3186 Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer Act, and H.R. 6049 Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008. While there is much more we can and should do to address our energy challenges, passage of these bills would have eased the sting of high energy prices and helped put America on the road toward a more secure and affordable energy future.
Given we have been unable to make progress on these measures, I think it is important that we both look at other ways to break the current legislative impasse on energy. Therefore, I am proposing that we jointly embrace the proposal made by the bipartisan group of Senators to convene a summit to address all facets of the energy challenges confronting this nation today including economic security, national security, global warming and ending our addiction to oil. As you may know, I have already taken the initiative to plan a National Clean Energy Summit next month in Las Vegas to bring together Republicans, Democrats, business leaders, labor and academics to address these challenges.
Clearly, even these two bipartisan summits can only be a start on addressing this nation’s energy challenges. Our country’s energy-related problems are cumulative in nature and will ultimately require much work by the Congress and the Executive Branch. However, given our current legislative logjam, I believe such dialogues can be a useful first step toward our larger mutual objective of achieving a safer, more affordable energy future for the American people.
Please let me know as soon as possible if you agree with this proposal for a summit here. If so, we can get to work immediately with the bipartisan group and other interested Senators in our respective caucuses to work out the details of this summit. If not, I want to inform you that I think the energy issues facing this country are so important a bipartisan summit still makes sense and I intend to proceed accordingly.