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Senate Proceeding on May 1st, 2008 :: 4:24:16 to 4:46:35
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John Rockefeller

4:24:16 to 4:24:28( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: absence of a quorum. the clerk will call the roll. quorum quorum call: mr. rockefeller: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i ask unanimous consent

John Rockefeller

4:24:16 to 4:46:35( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Rockefeller

John Rockefeller

4:24:28 to 4:24:48( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller: mr. president, i'd like to take a few moments today to discuss what is the catastrophe all across

John Rockefeller

4:24:48 to 4:24:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: our nation and it certainly is in west virginia because of the price of gasoline and other transportation fuels. my state is not wealthy. i think it's either the third or fourth poorest state in our country

John Rockefeller

4:24:59 to 4:25:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and i don't say that with shame. i say that with pride because it was in a sense one of the reasons that i was a vista volunteer -- went there as a vista volunteer, because i saw a place that i could

John Rockefeller

4:25:18 to 4:25:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: at least try to help. and the people are the best ever ever. people -- i you know, when people have to struggle to make it day in and day out, they're pretty solid people. i'm sure it's the case for

John Rockefeller

4:25:31 to 4:25:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: all of my colleagues for the past few weeks and months, i've been hearing from my constituents constantly about rising gasoline prices and the resulting rides riez in the price of goods and services

John Rockefeller

4:25:41 to 4:25:55( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: -- rise in the price of goods and services throughout our economy. west virginia, mr. president, are hurting. -- west virginians, mr. president, are hurting. west virginians will always find a way to

John Rockefeller

4:25:55 to 4:26:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: percent veers. always. but right now, many are struggling to juggle expenses, making enormous. sacrifices to feed and clothe their families feams while trying to pay the cost of going to work -- families

John Rockefeller

4:26:06 to 4:26:27( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: while trying to pay the cost of going to work. we have plants in west virginia to which people drive hours and hours every die get to. work -- every day to get to. work is not easily found, so where

John Rockefeller

4:26:27 to 4:26:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it is, people have to drive. we're 96% mountains; 4% flat. a lot of roads. people pretty much have cans seld the occasional -- canceled the occasional splernlg for a movie. we have a -- splernlg for a

John Rockefeller

4:26:41 to 4:26:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: must havey. we have a baseball team in west virginia. that's pretty much been pushed off. in other words, if it's a nonemergency purchase, they bypass it. it takes away from their happiness, their stability

John Rockefeller

4:26:54 to 4:27:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: as a family but they have no choice. intrelts been tightened just about as far as belts can be tightened -- belts have been tight end just about as tight as belts can be tightened. yet this week

John Rockefeller

4:27:08 to 4:27:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: again we hear how oil companies' profits are near record highs. and yet these companies have no plan and these companies have no desire to increase domestic refining capacity. one of the very few

John Rockefeller

4:27:21 to 4:27:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: things that we know would actually help bring prices down. the energy information administration and private sector energy experts tell us to expect gasoline and diesel fl prices to continue to rise for

John Rockefeller

4:27:33 to 4:27:53( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the foreseeable future. i don't know what that means. i don't think west virginians care swleach that means. it just -- care very much what that means. it just means a long time. a week, a month is a

John Rockefeller

4:27:53 to 4:28:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: long time. this is well beyond the usual cyclical annual price fluctuation. and the so-called summer driving season is not even here yet. but other than a brief dip in january, the price west virginians have

John Rockefeller

4:28:07 to 4:28:26( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: been paying at the pump has been climbing steadily since before christmas. not as noticeable at first. now catastrophic. the average price for a regale lone of gasoline in west virginia has risen from

John Rockefeller

4:28:26 to 4:28:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: just over $2.70 a gallon in august 2007 to a price on the last day of april 2008 of $3.71. i don't have new wage data for workers in my state -- wish i did -- but i'm willing to stand on the floor

John Rockefeller

4:28:41 to 4:28:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: of the united states senate and assert that nobody's salary has risen to match that 37% increase. the idea of $4-a-gallon gasoline which two, three, four, five years ago would have surrounded crazy,

John Rockefeller

4:28:54 to 4:29:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: really now is a matter not so much of "if" but "when." the time frame i just mentioned is relevant, of course, because we are in a country that's been at war in iraq for more than five years. spending

John Rockefeller

4:29:14 to 4:29:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: money, letting people do corruption at all levels. i'm always suspicious of oil companies. when our brave american forces set out to impose regime change on that country based upon the false or at least un

John Rockefeller

4:29:29 to 4:29:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: forgivably imprecise -- unforgivably imprecise -- i prefer the word false -- intelligence, west virginians were paying on average $1.63 for regular gasoline. that was not that long ago. it had been as

John Rockefeller

4:29:46 to 4:30:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: low as $1.26 for months leading up to the invasion. it should come as no surprise to anyone within the sound of my voice but in that time, oil industry profits have risen steadily. almost $60 billion

John Rockefeller

4:30:14 to 4:30:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: in profits in 2003, just over $80 billion in profits in 2004, approximately $110 billion in profits in 2005, just under $120 billion in 2006, d just over $120 billion so far in 2007. exxon mobil, shell, chevron

John Rockefeller

4:30:29 to 4:30:43( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: texaco have each had increasingly larger profits each of the last five years. b.p. examine&conocophillips have done nearly as well -- b.p. and conocophillips have done nearly as well. in all, the

John Rockefeller

4:30:43 to 4:30:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: five integrated oil companies have reaped $560 billion, mr. president, in profits since president bush and vice president cheney came into town. i don't particularly just want to do it that way because i

John Rockefeller

4:30:56 to 4:31:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: blame the companies more than i blame them, but there's lots of blame to go around. anyone who looks at the numbers could make this about politics, of course. it's easy to do. but this is, in essence,

John Rockefeller

4:31:11 to 4:31:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: for me, a former vista volunteer in my 4 44th year in west virginia, it's all about people. simply all about people and families who have been struggling anyway. the average income for the average

John Rockefeller

4:31:34 to 4:31:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: working family of four in west virginia is $24,000 -- $27,000. not a lot of money, before you get to all this stuff. it's even less. today if you're lucky enough to live or work near sam's dplub vienna,

John Rockefeller

4:31:46 to 4:31:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: west virginia, which is -- club in vienna, west virginia, which is on it is ohio river, you can a-- on the ohio river, you can afford to become a member there, you can get a gallon of gasoline for $3.49.

John Rockefeller

4:31:59 to 4:32:16( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it's hard for anyone i know in west virginia to think that have as cheap but it's the lowest price reported in the entire state. and, frankly, based on the data i've seen, it's so much lower than

John Rockefeller

4:32:16 to 4:32:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the rest of the state that you almost have to consider it an anomaly. if you're running low in spencer spencer, west virginia, a rural community, however, be prepared to pay $3.82 at the exxon station

John Rockefeller

4:32:36 to 4:32:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: on main street. it's $3.79 in south charleston. residents of huntington are paying $3.75. in berkeley springs, up in the the -- not far from washington, it's $3.69. no west virginia county, none, is reporting

John Rockefeller

4:32:56 to 4:33:09( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: an average price for aallon of regular gasoline that is below $3.61. only three of my state's 55 counties are reporting average gasoline prices lower than $3 $3.67. individual price quotes at individual

John Rockefeller

4:33:09 to 4:33:23( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: stations are ominous enough, but the real stock numbers, the real telling calculation is how much more west virginians are paying for gasoline than they were in the -- in the years past and that's

John Rockefeller

4:33:23 to 4:33:39( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: not even getting into the immediate or i can rises in food prices and the -- meet or i can flies food prices and -- meteoric rise in food prices and the rising cost of even those west virginians

John Rockefeller

4:33:39 to 4:33:58( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: who travel by air -- which is the subject of the bill we're meant to be on -- those have gone up. since 2001, west virginia households are paying almost $2,500 per year more for gasoline. it's a household

John Rockefeller

4:33:58 to 4:34:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: with -- with children that makes it $3,000. now, i take you back to the average income for the average family of four, working family of four in west virginia, $27,000. then you add on health care and

John Rockefeller

4:34:14 to 4:34:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: food and rent and all thest -- everything else. it's an enormous matter. if it's a household with teenagers, it's just below $3,6 $3,600 more. families, businesses and farmers in west virginia will

John Rockefeller

4:34:35 to 4:34:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: spend $153 $153 million more on gasoline in april 200than they spent in january -- april 2008 than they spent in january 2001. if prices remain at current levels, $1.83 billion more will be spent on gasoline

John Rockefeller

4:34:59 to 4:35:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: in west virginia this year than was spent in 2001. west virginia consumers, farmers and businesses are on a track to pay $2.96 billion for gasoline this year. so west virginians are asking two questions:

John Rockefeller

4:35:13 to 4:35:28( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: how did we get here? but to them, much more importantly: what can be done fix this? nobody in government, academia, or private industry can give you a single definitive equation for what makes the price

John Rockefeller

4:35:28 to 4:35:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: of oil go up and down. don't know why but we can't. can't.generally increased demand from china, yaind and much of the developing world -- i india and much of the developing world obviously has set the

John Rockefeller

4:35:34 to 4:35:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: stage for prices you have to take into consideration. much of our oil comesteletext fm an unregulated and unresponsive cartel called opec.

John Rockefeller

4:35:49 to 4:36:04( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: we also know that since the tragic terrorist attacks on september 11, 2001, the world price for petroleum has been affected by a global struggle against stateless thugs. the instability brought about

John Rockefeller

4:36:04 to 4:36:20( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: by our invasion in iraq has done nothing else but raise the pump price. i don't know a single other benefit to our nation that's been accomplished there. but smaller factors have also had huge

John Rockefeller

4:36:20 to 4:36:37( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: consequences. instability in nigeria, the outrageous behavior in vanes vanes he -- in venezuela have contributed in similarly negative ways. the recent strike by refinery and pipeline workers in scotland

John Rockefeller

4:36:37 to 4:36:51( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: unbeknownst to many of my citizens will not help. likewise, for the very serious refinery explosion in utah this week. congress cannot pinpoint how much speculation in the commodities market is

John Rockefeller

4:36:51 to 4:37:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: adding up to the price of oil, but a congressional study in 2005 suggested it was in the $20 to $25 a barrel range. a more recent study announced by "public citizen" says it's now closer to $30

John Rockefeller

4:37:07 to 4:37:24( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: a barrel. it doesn't matter. every cent of what's being seen at the gas pumps in west virginia and around the county hurts expmplet trying to give -- hurts. and trying to give a worldwide explanation

John Rockefeller

4:37:24 to 4:37:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: for it doesn't really solve anybody's problems or anybody's pain. we know, too, that the price that's associated with manipulation goes on up and down the supply chain. nobody will ever convince

John Rockefeller

4:37:46 to 4:38:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: me that there is not a large amount of corruption, manipulation -- deliberate -- cozy and easy that goes on around boardrooms in oil companies. from the huge oil companies that find the oil through

John Rockefeller

4:38:00 to 4:38:19( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: more markets and middlemen than question keep up with, every player has the ability to force the price up or down on their own bottom line. manipulation beyond the reach of my people in west virginia,

John Rockefeller

4:38:19 to 4:38:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the presiding officer's people in the state of colorado. we're at the mercy. we pay the price. we're at the mercy. we're at the mercy of oil 6789 . federal investigators cannot usually pinpoint collusion

John Rockefeller

4:38:34 to 4:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: but those acting independently to manipulate price costs to the people of west virginia do it all the same. there's a lot of things federal regulators sort of never manage to find. in the long term,

John Rockefeller

4:38:49 to 4:39:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the things we need to do sound basic -- and this is t final part of my remarks and the important part , other than the overriding theme of an -- important part, other than the overriding theme of

John Rockefeller

4:39:02 to 4:39:16( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: anger. increasing supply and reducing consumption. but achieving these goals has been proved to be very difficult. i've long supported efforts to improve automobile fuel efficiency. so have most other

John Rockefeller

4:39:16 to 4:39:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: people, not all. we made a small and long overdue change last year and i believe we will do more. i think cafe standards are going to go up and up, as they should. calls will getting smaller and

John Rockefeller

4:39:31 to 4:39:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: smaller, as they should. that will not be good for my legs but it will be good for my people. but even when detroit catches up with the rest of the world's automakers on fuel efficiency -- i repeat,

John Rockefeller

4:39:47 to 4:39:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: catches up -- we do need to add to our supply now. now.that's why in -- now. that's in 200n 2006 i supported senator domenici's legislation -- that's why in 2006, i supported senator domenici's legislation

John Rockefeller

4:39:57 to 4:40:25( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to increase production of gas in eastern new mexico. when these new fields are fully online, they will add 1.26 new billion barrels of oil to our domestic supply. now, i say that, but i also have

John Rockefeller

4:40:25 to 4:40:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to say in all honesty that i voted against virtually every other attempt to do drilling offshore and on land -- not on land but in anwr, for example. anwr to me has always been a shib shibolith.

John Rockefeller

4:40:41 to 4:40:58( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: just as many people say it's technically feasible or maybe it's economically feasible but it's not both. in the meantime, the tundra continues to melt. it's why i've also consistently supported holding

John Rockefeller

4:40:58 to 4:41:09( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: off on additional deposits in our strategic petroleum reserve. it's more than 97% full as it is and there is no economic rationale for filling it to the brim with 120% a barrel oil that. product should

John Rockefeller

4:41:09 to 4:41:25( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: be making its way into the marketplace. i join my colleagues -- joined my colleagues earlier this year ask the president to spend -- to suspend deliveries into the petroleum reserve until the price

John Rockefeller

4:41:25 to 4:41:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: of oil drops below $75 a barrel. since the press persists in refusing to stop taking oil off the market, i will support legislation to force him to do it. i also support, as i have in the past on several

John Rockefeller

4:41:49 to 4:42:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: occasions, the imposition of a windfall profits tax on integrated mull national oil companies. people say this is -- won't have any effect. i'd like to try that out just to see that they're wrong

John Rockefeller

4:42:01 to 4:42:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and to send a message. the oil companies are making so much money, maybe they won't even notice it. but i doubt that. because there are now 300 million americans who are very angry about what very

John Rockefeller

4:42:18 to 4:42:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: few of them are doing. as i've said, these companies are making huge, perhaps unconscionable, unconscionable profits off the people of my state and off the wages of struggling americans everywhere.

John Rockefeller

4:42:33 to 4:42:45( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: if they refuse to invest -- reinvest in additional refining capacity, which has been their habits habit, the least we can do is use some of those profits to shore up the highway trust funds for it is road,

John Rockefeller

4:42:45 to 4:43:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: infrom -- for the road, infrastructure, and transportation projects we need for 291st -- 21st century and perhaps for even something called aviation. those projects would create jobs. i will also reintroduce

John Rockefeller

4:43:01 to 4:43:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: legislation this week that i first introduced in 2001 that's called the "low income gasoline assistance program," ligap. this will provide some relief to americans hardest hilt by any rise in prices -- hit

John Rockefeller

4:43:18 to 4:43:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: by any rise in prices: to wit, the working poor, which describes a lot of my state. for many west virginia seniors who have no means of getting to work, the grocery store, or to a doctor's appointment

John Rockefeller

4:43:31 to 4:43:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: other than their cars or trucks, if they have them, ligap assistance for gasoline purchases will label them to weather this crisis with a little more peace of mind. when i say, "if they have them," because

John Rockefeller

4:43:47 to 4:43:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: many people in communities that i've worked in in west virginia don't have automobiles. so when they have to go somewhere, usually a pretty long distance, they have to hitch a ride. even though our

John Rockefeller

4:43:59 to 4:44:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: people are innately good and generous, because they defend depend on others -- because others depend on them -- they'll usual charge a fee for that ride. in any event, whether they even take that ride

John Rockefeller

4:44:14 to 4:44:27( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: will depend on whether they can afford the gasoline price to get there. so ligap eligibility would be linked to and modeled after liheap, the very successful efficient and successful home heating

John Rockefeller

4:44:27 to 4:44:42( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: energy assistance program. funds will be allocated to states under the existing community development block grant program. it makes sense. for everyone who quawlz qualifies, ligap -- qualifies, ligap

John Rockefeller

4:44:42 to 4:44:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: would give stipends between $100 and $165 a month, and hopefully this may mean not having to scrimp on their children's food or cutting back on prescription drugs and other of their family needs families

John Rockefeller

4:44:54 to 4:45:10( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: are the basis of our country, mr. president. people are the basis of everything we do. it's just that there's some sectors of our dmea choose to avoid that. of our economy that dhiewz avoid that,

John Rockefeller

4:45:10 to 4:45:22( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: because they don't have to depend on those people. because those people have no choice but to buy their product. mr. president, it's time for congress and the administration to come together, stop

John Rockefeller

4:45:22 to 4:45:44( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: bickering -- that would be a great accomplishment -- and stop fighting over turf, as we are doing here in our aviation bill. while we engage in parliamentary tactics that most americans don't give a hoot about

John Rockefeller

4:45:44 to 4:46:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: -- in fact, they hate us for doing it it -- west virginians and citizens in every state are suffering while oil companies are laughing all the way to their many banks. this must stop and i ask my colleagues

John Rockefeller

4:46:02 to 4:46:15( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to work with me to make this stop. i thank the presiding, and i yield the floor. mr. stevens: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. stevens: mr. president, we import more

John Rockefeller

4:46:15 to 4:46:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: than 12.5 million barrels a day of petroleum, over 60% of our energy needs. as a matter of fact, i think it's higher than that now in the last two or three days. this is why our economy and the value

Ted Stevens

4:46:35 to 4:46:50( Edit History Discussion )

Ted Stevens: of the dollar has weakened and our energy costs are -- have skyrocketed. at $117 a barrel -- it is more than that now today, the united states spent nearly $1.5 billion each day on foreign oil. that's $533

Ted Stevens

4:46:35 to 4:55:53( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Ted Stevens

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