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Cornyn, Carper, Shaheen, Hoeven, Landrieu, Boozman, Manchin, Begich, Barrasso, Murkowski

Feb 14 2013 01:13 PM

Executive Session (Hagel nomination)

Senator Cornyn: (12:07 PM)
  • Spoke on the debt.
    • SUMMARY "I rise to mark another sad record for the United States Senate. 1,387 days since the United States Senate has passed a budget. 1,387 days ... For the time being, what we really need rather than a president on a perpetual campaign is for Democrats and Republicans to work together to try to solve some of our nation's most pressing problems, and there is no more important issue than our national debt. Unfortunately, the president after extracting about $600 billion in new taxes as a result of the fiscal cliff negotiation is still coming back to the well and he's calling for tens of billions of dollars of new spending at a time when we ought to be talking about bending the cost curve down, try to rein in wasteful Washington spending, the president wants to spend more and he wants to raise your taxes to do it. And perhaps worst of all, we know that the promises we made to our seniors for Medicare and Social Security are imperiled unless we act together to save and protect Social Security and Medicare they're on a pathway to bankruptcy and that's irresponsible and wrong."

Senator Carper: (12:14 PM)
  • Responded.
    • SUMMARY "I believe and I think I heard the president say this the other night, three things we need to address, one, we need to address, and the president said this, we need to address entitlement programs to figure out how to get better health care results for less money, be able to preserve those programs for the long haul. And I think we'll have an interesting proposal from Senator Durbin later this year with respect to Social Security and I think putting in a structure and a way - or maybe a path forward on Social Security that makes it clear we're not trying to balance the budget on - on Social Security but actually do the reforms that you know are needed and I know are needed so we'll have that program for a long haul. I think on my side of the aisle, and I think on your side of the aisle, we acknowledge the need for some revenues, whether it's on the tax expenditure side, the deductions and loopholes and so forth or finding other ways to raise revenues. The third thing GAO, their high-risk ways for wasting money. It comes out today. Every two years they give us this high-risk list how to save money, spend our tax dollars more efficiently. We've got all that working together, those three things - entitlement reform, some additional revenues, and actually look every nook and cranny of the federal government saying how do we get better results for less money. Those things we can do together."

Senator Shaheen: (12:19 PM)
  • Honored Charlie Morgan.

Senator Hoeven: (12:25 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "This is a project that provides energy to our country when we very much need it. It's a project that will provide jobs, tens of thousands of jobs. We have 7.9% unemployment. We have 12 million people out of work. Here's a project that won't cost the federal government one single penny but it creates tens of thousands of high-quality private-sector jobs. It's about economic growth. This is a $7.9 billion project. The project over its life will create hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue for state and local government as well as the federal government to help with our deficit and our debt without raising taxes. More tax revenue without raising taxes. And it's also about our energy security, energy security for America. Instead of bringing in oil from the Middle East, this is about working with our closest friend and ally, Canada, to meet our energy needs. This pipeline will not only bring in Canadian oil, however, it also moves oil from my state of North Dakota and from the state of Montana to our refineries in places like Texas and Louisiana and other places around the country. So this is about making sure that we don't have to import oil from the Middle East. And I think that's something that every American wants. That truly is an issue of national security."

Senator Cornyn: (12:33 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "The Keystone would create an estimated 20,000 American jobs in construction and manufacturing. In my state, which still is the number-one energy-producing state in the nation, and there is no coincidence here that job growth in Texas is outpacing most of the rest of the country. I would add that North Dakota is now the second largest energy producer in the country, thanks to the Bakken shale and the efforts there. The Keystone would lead up to $1.16 billion of direct investment and would boost our state's economic output by an estimated $2 billion, creating not only thousands of long-lasting and well-paying jobs, it would allow Texas refineries to refine up to 700 barrels of oil each day in our refineries, making that into gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil and the like. So what this would do is increase the supply at a time when, as the distinguished senator from North Dakota pointed out, gas prices have gone up because of restricted refinery capacity and the worldwide price of oil, creating more supply and here in America can do nothing to help contain those high prices. It just strikes me that this is a no-brainer. While we find ourselves engaged in armed conflicts in places like the Middle East and where Iran periodically threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz through which about 20% of the world's oil supply flows, why would we want to make ourselves less dependent on Middle Eastern oil? Why wouldn't we want to make ourselves more independent on North American energy, and this is a no-brainer on almost every count I can think of."

Senator Landrieu: (12:37 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "I see this pipeline as a transition. It's giving us oil from one of our closest, most dependable and friendliest of all allies, Canada, as opposed to pushing us over the next five or ten years to continuing to do business with countries that do not share our values like the leadership, unfortunately, in Venezuela today or the problems with countries in the northeast, even the Saudis who we respect in some ways do not have the same value system as the United States. We would much rather - at least my constituents would much rather deal with Canada and Mexico. Not only are they better allies, but for Louisiana, we like working in Canada. It's a little closer to home. We like working in Mexico. And since many of these workers on these rigs and in this business come from Louisiana and Texas, let me be crystal clear. My colleagues that are helping on this are absolutely right. The people of Louisiana would like to work in Canada where the environmental protections are there, where wages are good, where there are not a lot of pirates floating around, where their workers are much less likely to be kidnapped. I mean, these are serious issues for the oil and gas industry. So that's one of the reasons that I have been urging President Obama, along with many of my colleagues, to rethink his position on this pipeline Canada, is going to produce this oil one way or another. The question is who were they going to send it to? Are they going to send it to their good friend, the United States, to our refineries in Texas and Louisiana, or are they going to ship it somewhere else in the world?"

Senator Boozman: (12:47 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "You know, we talk a lot about jobs in regard to this project, but that simply cannot be overemphasized. The United States Chamber of Commerce, most of the largest labor unions, major labor unions, all agree that if this thing were to go forward, which it has to do, would create 250,000 jobs, 20,000 of those tomorrow, almost immediately. So, again, it's so important. It's important to my home state because many businesses, many hard-working Americans living there would benefit tremendously. We have a large new core plant in Blytheville, Arkansas, in Mississippi County, would supply a lot of the iron that's going to be used in this. We have another facility. They make oil pipe. They've got 500 miles of this pipe sitting in storage that they've produced to go forward, which should be a great thing. The problem is instead of increasing employment for the future, right now they've had to lay off workers because of the indecision. So, you know, there's all kinds of reasons we need to get this. Others have talked about national security reasons, but the labor, the good-paying jobs that would be created, again, not being dependent on places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, that's a pretty good deal and we need to move forward immediately."

Senator Manchin: (12:49 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "My little state of West Virginia now has a tremendous shell gas find in the Marcellus Shell, the shell gas we're exported and produced all over our country. We have an opportunity in our lifetime to become totally energy independent. So the only thing I'm saying where I come from, the people are such good people and they have a lot of common sense. And they say we'd rather buy from our friends than our enemies."

Senator Begich: (12:52 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "We have built the largest single capital project back in the 1970's when we brought oil off the North Slope. Almost 800 miles through the harshest, most unpredictable climates that you could ever see. I will tell you if you went back to the stories, the articles, the sky would fall, the environment would be destroyed, the world would come to an end by us building that pipeline. You know, we're multiple decades past. It's worked very well. There haven't been those disasters that people claimed. But on top of that the pipeline is the safest way to move oil but on top of that, you have a choice and the senator from North Dakota made it very clear, that is you to refine it in China or the U.S. I don't know about anybody here but I would bet we all agree between the environmental standards, we have a better environmental record than china does in refinery and refining of oil products .. This is unique. The Chamber and labor working together for the common good of this country and the jobs and the groups. You think of the teamsters and the operating engineers, the pipeline contractors, the plumbers and pipe fitters, they're all part of this agreement to build this pipeline, and train workers which is you all know here, huge gap in our trades. So we get to utilize a training opportunity, employ thousands of people not only for today but for the future."

Senator Barrasso: (12:57 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "It's been a difficult task based on some of the regulatory obstacles to energy development. The president likes to talk about how he supports all of the above American energy development, but really his actions over the past four years tell a completely different story. Instead of making it easier for our own country to produce energy, I believe he's made it harder. You look at the folks who are leaving his administration, the EPA's director, Lisa Jackson, she said the EPA's role is interestingly "to level the playing field against fossil fuels." Secretary Chu who is leaving the administration, said he must "boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." And Secretary Salazar who is leaving continues to talk about the fact that the energy strategy showed good results but they have restricted access to federal offshore and onshore oil and gas resources through moratoriums, through blocking permits, through leasing plans, they denied Americans billions in public revenue and thousands of jobs. So I stand here saying that the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of the Obama administration's pattern of delaying good projects by requiring excessive red tape I call on the administration today, the president as well as the new secretary of state, to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, to allow that energy, which is either coming here to the United States or going to China or elsewhere, to approve it to come to the United States, to help our production, to help our consumers, to help our jobs in this country. Those are the things that are important as we try to focus on energy security for our nation, economic growth for our nation, as well as environmental stewardship."

Senator Murkowski: (1:03 PM)
  • Spoke on the Keystone XL pipeline.
    • SUMMARY "I'm looking for an energy policy that is abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure. And when we talk about security, this is where the Keystone XL project really comes in to play. When we're talking about security, that doesn't necessarily mean that everything that we want as a nation is going to be produced right here within our own borders. What it means is how we reduce vulnerabilities from others, how we can eliminate our reliance on OPEC. And, ladies and gentlemen, this is a reality, this is doable, this is possible by 2020. This is not some pie-in-the-sky. Let me just give you some numbers here. In 2011, Canada produced roughly 2.9 million barrels of crude oil per day. Mexico produced 2.6 million. When you add this to the approximately 6 million barrels that the U.S. produces each day, total North American production - which is 11.5 million barrels - is far greater than the nation's net imports, from is 8.5 million barrels back last year, more than double the imports from OEPC. More than double the imports from OPEC. So if we can do more within our own borders here and ensure that we are able to rely on our friends to the north, the Canadians, and our friends to the south, the Mexicans, we can displace, we can fully displace our reliance on OPEC imports by the year 2020. But part of this - this - achieving this goal is being able to count on the Keystone XL pipeline. It is as simple as that. It's about security. It is about ensuring that we've got a supply that not only helps us achieve that energy security but it allows us to achieve economic security insofar as the jobs that are created, the really the ripple effect that goes out. It's not just constructing one pipeline, it's the ripple effect that comes from this boom of opportunity within our country. So it's jobs and economic security."
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