U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted to keep the Senate focused on energy legislation and again called on Democratic leaders to allow debate on amendments aimed at fighting high gas prices. Alexander voted against a motion to proceed to debate on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) bill (S. 3186). Had the motion passed, the Senate would have ended debate on broader energy legislation.
“We cannot allow the Senate to end debate on legislation to address high gas prices without passing a serious bill,” Alexander said. “Voting to move to another bill without doing anything about $4 per gallon gas prices would be tantamount to giving up on struggling Americans. The best way to fight both high gas prices and high home heating and cooling costs is with a serious, bipartisan energy bill that includes a broad range of both conservation and energy production provisions. The way to do that is pass the Gas Price Reduction Act to find more and use less. Republicans have made clear that we will offer an amendment to the Energy bill to increase funding for LIHEAP, but the Democratic leadership won’t allow it. It’s time to stop playing politics with Senate procedure and make serious efforts to tackle all our energy needs.”
Last month, Alexander joined in introducing the Gas Price Reduction Act (S. 3202). Specifically, the bill would:
• “Find More” – increasing American production by one-third through offshore exploration and western states oil shale (3 million new barrels a day).
• “Use Less” – reducing imported oil by one-third by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks (4 million barrels of oil savings a day). The bill also encourages the federal government to increase its purchases of electric vehicles.
• Provide for the addition of 100 employees at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to beef up oversight of oil speculators.
The motion to proceed to the LIHEAP bill (S. 3186) received 50 votes. Under Senate rules, 60 votes were required.