Tom Coburn on Energy & Oil
Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (OK-2)
North Dakota is a case study in what can happen with a sound energy policy. In North Dakota, unemployment went down to around 3% last year, compared to 9.2% nationwide. The reason? New technologies that allow us to access the 4 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken fields led to strong economic growth. A reasonable energy policy could create hundreds of thousands of jobs every year and hundreds of billions of dollars in additional revenue.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Sen. McConnell, R-KY]: The White House is trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA. It is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices. But it is perfectly consistent with the current Energy Secretary's previously stated desire to get gas prices in the US up to where they are in Europe.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Sen. Lautenberg, D-NJ]:We hear the message that has been going around: Let's get rid of the EPA's ability to regulate. Who are they to tell us what businesses can do? Thank goodness that in this democratic society in which we live, there are rules and regulations to keep us as a civilized nation. The Supreme Court and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency agreed that the Clean Air Act is a tool we must use to stop dangerous pollution. This amendment, it is very clear, favors one group--the business community. The Republican tea party politicians say: "Just ignore the Supreme Court. Ignore the scientists. We know better." They want to reward the polluters by crippling EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Status: Failed 50-50 (3/5
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R, SC): The climate change proposal that was in the President's budget would create a massive tax increase on anybody who uses energy, and that would be every American middle-class family, which already has a tough time getting by. This [amendment creates a procedure to block] any bill that would raise the cost of energy on our middle-class families who are struggling to get by. I ask the Senate to rally around this concept. We can deal with climate change without passing a $3,000-per-household energy tax on the families of America who are having a hard time paying their bills.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
Sec. 202 is amended by inserting at the end the following: "The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget shall not revise the allocations in this resolution if the legislation is reported from any committee pursuant to sec. 310 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974."
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R, SC): This idea to most people of a debate about reconciliation probably is mind-numbing and not very interesting. But there is a process in the Congress where you can take legislation and basically put it on a fast track. It is subject to 50 votes.
The whole idea of the Senate kind of cooling things down has served the country well. In that regard, to end debate you need 60 votes. If 41 Senators are opposed to a piece of legislation, strongly enough to come to the floor every day and talk about it, that legislation doesn't go anywhere. If you took climate change and health care, two very controversial, big-ticket items, and put them on the reconciliation track, you would basically be doing a lot of damage to the role of the Senate in a constitutional democracy.
Senator Byrd, who is one of the smartest people to ever serve in the Senate about rules and parliamentary aspects of the Senate, said that to put climate change and health care reform in reconciliation is like "a freight train through Congress" and is "an outrage that must be resisted." Senator Conrad said: "I don't believe reconciliation was ever intended for this purpose."
I think both of them are right. Under the law, you cannot put Social Security into reconciliation because we know how controversial and difficult that is. I come here in support of the Johanns amendment that rejects that idea.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
Despite the positive elements of this legislation, the main sticking point is whether temporary extensions of tax relief should be offset with permanent tax increases elsewhere. The White House issued a statement recommending a Presidential veto of this bill in its current form. [Vote NAY to] allow the Senate to work its will and pass legislation that can be quickly signed by the President.
But what happens with the DeMint motion, he gives China and India a veto power over what we should be doing. Imagine saying we are not going to do anything about human rights until China acts. Why would we give up our chance to take the mantle of leadership and finally grab hold of this issue? I cannot look into the eyes of my grandchildren and tell them: Sorry, I am giving over my proxy to China & India, and I can't do anything about it.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
It just seems logical that we ask the Corps of Engineers to include in their analyses, judgments about the potential impact of global climate change. All this amendment seeks to do, as a matter of common sense, is to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to factor climate change into their future plans. Secondly, we are making a statement here to finally recognize the reality of what is happening with respect to climate change.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The same people today who are saying we are all going to die from global warming, just back in the middle 1970s were saying another ice age is coming and we are all going to die. Which way do you want it?
If a surge of anthropogenic gases--this CO2, methane, or whatever it is--were causing a warming period, then around 1945 we would have a warming period because in the middle 1940s we had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases. But what happened? It did not precipitate a warming period.
Peer reviewed evidence shows that the sun has actually been driving the temperature change. You don't have to be a scientist to know that the Sun can have something to do with climate change.
Implementing Kyoto would reduce the average annual household income nearly $2,700, at a time when the cost of all goods would rise sharply.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CAF scores as follows:
The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities--against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.
About the CAF report, "Energy Independence: Record vs. Rhetoric":
Energy independence has surfaced as a defining issue in the current elections. Are most candidates and both parties truly committed? To help distinguish the demonstrated level of support for homegrown, clean energy alternatives, we examined the voting records of current U.S. Representatives and Senators on bills vital to promoting those interests. Key pieces of legislation included goals for independence, and subsidies for the development of alternatives compared to subsidies for drilling and digging. We then compared votes on these issues with campaign contributions from major oil interests. The results show strong inverse correlations between political contributions from big oil and votes for energy independence.
A bill to address record high gas prices at the pump, and for other purposes. The Gas Price Reduction Act amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to prescribe procedures for petition, by the governor of a state with a new producing area within the offshore administrative boundaries beyond the state's submerged land, to make the new producing area available for oil and gas leasing.
Repeals the prohibition against funding: (1) regulations regarding a commercial leasing program for oil shale resources on public lands; or (2) an oil shale lease sale.
No Climate Tax Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my state, and to the American people, that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue."
Sponsoring organizations: Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEU); National Taxpayers Union (NTU); Institute for Liberty Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.
The Contract from America, clause 2. Reject Cap & Trade:
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.
The Contract from America, clause 8. Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy:
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers, [to keep energy prices low].
Congressional Summary:Authorizes a state to establish a program covering the leasing and permitting processes, regulatory requirements, and any other provisions by which the state would exercise its rights to develop all forms of energy resources on available federal land in the state.
Proponent's argument for bill: (The Heritage Foundation): This important piece of legislation would allow state control of energy resources on federal lands. America has harnessed technological advances in recent years in drilling and extracting energy resources that have caused a surge in domestic oil and gas in several areas of the country. Most of that production has occurred on private and state-owned lands, not federal lands where output has been on decline. The benefits of transferring power to the states over their own energy decisions: States have an interest in both boosting their economies by tapping into the energy resources available to them and protecting the environment. More importantly, they are best suited to fulfill these two goals, not the federal government.
Opponent's argument against bill:(The Wilderness Society): Oil and gas development can do serious damage to wildlands and waters, especially when it takes place in sensitive areas. The federal government began leasing public lands for energy development in 1920. We see energy development as a valid use of some public lands, but there are some wild places that must be protected. We work to ensure that the most stringent environmental precautions are applied when oil and gas development occurs on our public lands and that development does not happen in fragile wild areas. The Wilderness Society also makes sure that our most ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, remain permanently off limits to oil and gas companies.
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