Floor Updates

Chambliss, Franken

Morning Business

Mar 01 2012

05:02 PM

Senator Chambliss: (4:17 PM)
  • Spoke on energy and gas prices.
    • SUMMARY "The President and his administration have said some decisions that contribute to rising gas prices that prevent us from being able to take advantage of vast energy resources located right here in North America. First, the President's recent decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline was extremely disappointing. Canada is a trusted ally and friend of the United States, and by tapping into its vast oil reserves, we could have substantially lessened our need to import oil from other potentially hostile nations. Not only would this project instantly have created many jobs, it would also have helped secure or nation's energy future. In addition, the long line of burdensome regulations coming from the administration threatens both economic growth and energy costs in the United States. Instead of navigating through this unprecedented regulatory environment, more and more industries would choose to take their business overseas. This could potentially include refineries and other businesses essential to domestic energy production. In fact, we are already seeing the movement of the deep oil rigs in the gulf of Mexico move to China, a classic example of what could happen, even more so in the future. Rather than hindering domestic production of oil and gas, we must encourage the development of the abundant energy resources we have right here in the United States, and we must do so in an environmentally responsible manner. I will continue to support domestic oil and gas exploration and production. It is an essential component of a comprehensive energy policy that will enable America to become more energy-independent. as I hear more reports of new oil and natural gas deposits found within our borders and off America's shores, I am stunned that we are not doing more to encourage the development of these resources. I can't think of a better means of improving our economy, both by reducing America's energy imports and encouraging job growth. Unfortunately, the administration continues to hold up and unnecessarily delay the approval of drilling leases and permits. Now is not the time to tie up valuable and much-needed American energy production in bureaucratic red tape. A responsible energy policy that includes increased domestic energy production, improved energy efficiency through technology, improved conservation, and a diversified energy supply through the use of renewable fuel sources will keep gas prices low, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen our economy."
  • Spoke on the SECURE Act.
    • SUMMARY "The SECURE IT Act consists of four key areas of common ground identified in various efforts. First, information-sharing, second, federal information security management act reform, third, enhanced criminal penalties, and four, cybersecurity research and development. We have seen firsthand the positive impact better information-sharing can have on our national security. Since the 9/11 terrorist attack, improved information-sharing throughout the government and especially within the intelligence community has greatly enhanced our national security. I believe that a similar improvement to information-sharing in the cyber context will pay huge long-term dividends in terms of our safety and national security. Once there is an understanding that information-sharing will work best if it empowers the individual rather than a discreet government entity, the move from a regulatory approach to one that encourages voluntary sharing of cyber threat information by removing unintended barriers quickly follows. The information-sharing title of the SECURE IT Act is based on this voluntary approach and on the principle that government account cannot and should not solve every problem."

Senator Franken: (4:50 PM)
  • Spoke on the Franken/Blunt amendment to the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "The bill that we're debating today consolidates many varied surface transportation programs into five main pots of money - the highway bridge program would be consolidated into the new national highway performance program, and of this new program, 60% would have to be spent on restoring national highway system roads and bridges into a state of good repair. The other 40% is more flexible and can be spent on a variety of projects, including federal aid highways that aren't on the national highway system or the NHS. However, if those non-NHS roads have a bridge that needs repair, those funds wouldn't have been an allowable use of this flexible pot of money. My amendment which has now been included in the base bill fixes that. It allows the 40% both of money to be used for repair bridges on non-NHS federal aid highways. It's just common sense if roads are eligible for this funding then bridges along those roads should be eligible as well. This is a no-brainer to me, especially given the poor state of our bridges today in our country."