Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Frank H. Murkowski, today spoke on the Senate floor in support of the making Yucca Mountain a permanent repository for high level nuclear waste and spent fuel. Murkowski focused on the Yucca resolution recently passed out of the Senate Energy Committee and the rules of the Senate. “Let us end the rhetoric that somehow we are not following the Senate rules or that this is some novel provision that the Senate was not aware of. We must focus on the substance of the Joint Resolution and move to its consideration as the Senate meant in 1982. The Senate Energy Committee has done its job and recommended that the Senate approve the Joint Resolution. It is time for the Senate to act.” “Following the procedures laid out in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act is in no way a break with Senate tradition, nor would we be setting a bad precedent. Following the law is just that, following the law. The procedures under discussion are set forth in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. A very important element of those procedures is a specific provision that states once a resolution is on the Senate calendar, ‘it shall be in order for the any Member of the Senate to move to proceed to the consideration of such resolution.’ “While the provision is extraordinary, it is neither unique nor contrary to the rules of the Senate. In fact it is a part of the Senate rules. Let us be clear, we are following the rules of the Senate that were agreed to in 1982 and that have been in place under both Democrat and Republican control of the Senate since that time. These were not last minute additions slipped into the legislation in conference or in the wee hours of the morning, and there are no surprises. “The Nuclear Waste Policy Act was debated at length in the Senate in 1982, and no one objected to the expedited procedure or the language providing that ‘any member’ could make the motion to proceed. Everyone understood that the language was essential to any concept of a state objection. The Senate understood that a Majority Leader or Committee Chairman might not want to carry out the mandate of the statute and so we provided explicitly that any Senator could bring this issue to the Senate.” ###