Senate Democrats

On Energy, Will Bush-McCain Republicans Finally Take ‘Yes’ for an Answer?

This afternoon, Senator Reid once again offered to give Republicans votes on offshore drilling, oil shale and nuclear power. Senate Republicans have said they will consider it. This time will they take ‘yes’ for an answer? Senate Democrats understand the pressure that high energy prices are putting on Americans’ family budgets. This year alone, Democrats have put forward numerous bills to address the problem of high gas prices. But Bush-McCain Republicans have said no at every turn. No to renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits, no to cracking down on price-gouging and excessive market speculation, no to rolling back tax breaks for Big Oil and no to helping low-income families, seniors and the disabled cope with high energy costs. It’s time for Bush-McCain Republicans to stop their obstruction and work with Democrats to lower energy costs for all Americans. 

Senator Reid offered debate and votes on domestic production:

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 If it is not achieved with an affirmative 60-vote, then it be withdrawn.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]

Bush-McCain Republicans have said no to Democrats’ efforts to address high energy costs:

February 7, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked Effort to Add Renewable Tax Credits to the Economic Stimulus Package. [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

June 6, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked the Climate Security Act. The bill would cap greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and set up a trading system for companies to buy and sell emissions allowances. [Senate Vote #145, S. 3036, 6/6/08]

June 10, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked the Consumer-First Energy Act. The bill would repeal tax benefits for oil companies worth $17 billion over 10 years that were enacted in 2004 and 2005, as well as direct the money to renewable energy. It also would impose a profits tax on the largest oil companies and crack down on price gouging and market speculation. [Senate Vote #146, S. 3044, 6/10/08]

June 10, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Tax Credits. [Senate Vote #147, HR 6049, 6/10/08]

June 17, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Tax Credits Again. [Senate Vote #150, HR 6049, 6/17/08]

June 27, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked a Bipartisan Bill to Crack Down on Speculation in the Oil Market. Republicans objected to a unanimous consent request to pass legislation approved by the House 402-19 that would have directed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to immediately crack down on oil speculation.[Congressional Record, 6/27/08]

July 25, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked an Effort to Crack Down on Excessive Market Speculation. The bill would increase staffing at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and require greater transparency, oversight and enforcement in energy commodities trading and markets. [S. 3268, Senate Vote #184, 7/25/08]

July 26, 2008

Bush-McCain Republicans Blocked Expanding Home Energy Aid for Low-Income Families. The bill would provide $2.5 billion in fiscal 2008 emergency spending for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families pay home heating and cooling costs. [Senate Vote #187, S. 3186, 7/26/08]