Last night, Senate Democrats overcame days of Republican obstructionism and accomplished yet another one of Americans’ priorities. This time it was passing an energy bill that enhances our national security, addresses rising gas prices and further takes us on the road towards energy independence. Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) managed the bill for the Democrats. Most of the content of H.R.6 is from his Energy Committee. Here are Jeff’s notes on the bill:
“I am pleased that the Senate energy bill was passed by my colleagues last night, on a broad bipartisan vote of 65-27, after we turned back two efforts yesterday to filibuster the bill and take it down.
“The Senators who consistently supported the bill through its consideration in the Senate were reflecting where the American people are. The strong consensus of the American public, of business and labor leaders, and of elected officials at almost every level of government, is that our nation must move faster and go farther to secure its energy future.
“The Senate energy bill we have passed is a bill that is all about tapping America’s limitless capacity for innovation -- and giving the results of that innovation a strong boost through federal policies -- so that America can become more energy self-reliant.
“The bill responds to the deeply held view of most Americans that we can – and should – lead the world when it comes to developing the new technologies that will produce clean, alternative energy and help address the threat of global warming.
“Building a clean energy future is a grand challenge for our country, and not without opposition from various entrenched interests. We certainly saw that reflected in some of the votes on this bill. But all of us here know that tackling that grand challenge will bring us enormous opportunity: lowering our energy costs, building a stronger economy and creating the high-paying energy jobs of the 21st century here in the United States.”
ENERGY BILL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Increases Auto Mileage for First Time in Decades. “And it calls for boosting auto fuel economy to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40 percent increase over current requirements for cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks.” [AP, 6/22/07]
Increases Production of Ethanol. “The legislation would require ethanol production for motor fuels to grow to at least 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, a sevenfold increase over the amount of ethanol processed last year.” [AP, 6/22/07]
Spurs Research on Fuel-Efficient Vehicles. “It would provide federal grants and loan guarantees to promote research into fuel-efficient vehicles and would support test projects to capture carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants to be stored underground.” [Washington Post, 6/22/7]
Saves Taxpayer Dollars By Increasing Efficiency in Government Buildings. “New appliance and lighting efficiency standards and a requirement that the federal government accelerate use of more efficient lighting in public buildings.” [AP, 6/22/07]
Ensures Gas Prices Are Not Manipulated. “Price gouging provisions that make it unlawful to charge an ‘unconscionably excessive’ price for oil products, including gasoline. It also gives the federal government new authority to investigate oil industry market manipulation.” [AP, 6/22/07]
AND THE REVIEWS ARE IN…
Washington Post: The First Major Change in Fuel Efficiency Law since 1975. “The Senate passed a sweeping energy legislation package last night that would mandate the first substantial change in the nation's vehicle fuel-efficiency law since 1975 despite opposition from auto companies and their Senate supporters. After three days of intense debate and complex maneuvering, Democratic leaders won passage of the bill shortly before midnight by a 65 to 27 vote.” (Washington Post, 6/22/07)
Wall Street Journal: Democrats Achieve “Sweeping” Energy Legislation. “The Senate, voting 65-27, approved sweeping energy legislation that would increase fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles, provide tax incentives for development of alternative fuels and require far greater use of ethanol and other so-called renewable automotive fuels…The measure was on hold for hours last night as supporters rounded up senators, many of whom had already left their Capitol offices for the day. Early in the evening, senators on a quick voice vote approved higher automobile fuel-economy standards, an important step toward the first increases in more than two decades and a major defeat for Detroit's Big Three auto makers.” (Wall Street Journal, 6/22/07)
New York Times: Democrats fight off push by car manufacturers, achieve victory. “The Senate passed a broad energy bill late Thursday that would, among other things, require the first big increase in fuel mileage requirements for passenger cars in more than two decades. The vote, 65 to 27, was a major defeat for car manufacturers, which had fought for a much smaller increase in fuel economy standards and is expected to keep fighting as the House takes up the issue.” (New York Times, 6/22/07)
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