Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after he voted against continuing efforts by the Democratic leader to take the Senate off of the most important issue of finding a solution to $4 gasoline prices that are hurting family budgets across the country. Alexander voted against two separate motions to move the Senate off of the debate on energy, saying that the Senate could take up the Media Shield bill (S. 2035) and the Tax Extenders bill (S. 3335) after it works out a bipartisan solution on high gasoline prices.
"Instead of wasting time on a half dozen procedural votes that everyone knew would fail, the Senate could have, since the week before last, been bringing up amendments with proposals for dealing with $4 gasoline,” Alexander said. “We cannot allow the Senate to simply end debate on legislation to address high gas prices without passing a bill. The Senate should take up the Gas Price Reduction Act and once it has completed its work on high energy costs, it should turn its attention to these other issues, like making the state and local sales tax deduction permanent, and expanding the $1,000 per-child refundable tax credit to more families with low incomes. With gas prices and taxes on the rise, we should work across party lines to find more American energy, use less, and that would bring down prices.”
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.
Alexander is also a cosponsor of bills introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) to provide a permanent deduction for state and local sales taxes.
The Senate considered two separate motions to move away from the debate on Energy. The motion to proceed to the Media Shield bill (S. 2035, the Free Flow of Information Act) received 51 votes. The motion to proceed to the Baucus Tax Extenders bill (S. 3335) received 51 votes. Under Senate rules, 60 votes were required for each bill.