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Senate Proceeding 05-17-11 on May 17th, 2011 :: 0:43:35 to 0:54:25
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David Vitter

0:43:35 to 0:54:25( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: David Vitter

David Vitter

0:43:36 to 0:43:56( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: quorum call: the pres senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. vitter: and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, american families

David Vitter

0:43:57 to 0:44:18( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: all around the co, certainly including lieu loose, are suffering at the -- including louisiana, are suffering at the pump as the price goes up and up and up. it does as we're just getting ready to enjoy a little vacation time with our families, use a little more gasoline maybe driving places. that's always tough. but it's not just a typical summer experience. this i

David Vitter

0:44:19 to 0:44:40( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: this is worse than ever, and i have the sinking feeling more permanent than ever. mr. president, i'm afraid this isn't a blip. this is a long-term trend and it's really hitting american families in the pocketbook hard. it's hitting louisianans in the pocketbook hard. at the same time, we see historic turmoil in the middle east.

David Vitter

0:44:41 to 0:45:01( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: we see so many signs that we need to get hold of our energy picture, so energy and the need for, among other things, increase domestic energy production is absolutely crucial. mr. president, that's why it's so darned disappointing what we're going to do or perhaps more appropriately not do on

David Vitter

0:45:02 to 0:45:22( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: this crucial subject in the senate this week. first of all, it's disappointing because we're going to end up doing nothing. we're going to have some votes, we're going to have some debate that are more or less messaging votes, and nothing is going to come of it, and that's deeply disappointing because america

David Vitter

0:45:23 to 0:45:43( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: needs leadership in action, not just posturing. but secondly, mr. president, it's disappointing, in my opinion, when you look at the two proposals before us, and because i'm deeply disappointed in them, i'm going to vote against both of these proposals, the menendez bill and the mcconnell bill, although for very different reasons.

David Vitter

0:45:44 to 0:46:05( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: mr. president, the first vote, of course, will be later today on the menendez bill, and i'm afraid this bill is just pure political demagoguery. attacking big oil because, i suppose, the author and some members think that's an easy target, and meanwhile doing nothing, nothing substantive

David Vitter

0:46:06 to 0:46:26( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: about the real problem, providing no relief to americans who are paying more and more at the pump. now, mr. president, the bill purports to do away with taxpayer subsidies to big oil -- quote -- unquote. let me give you a factual translation of that.

David Vitter

0:46:27 to 0:46:49( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the factual translation is to increase taxes on certain energy companies by disallowing them from claiming the same sort of deductions and credits that thousands of other american businesses and manufacturers can claim, some of which go back and are almost as old as the income tax itself.

David Vitter

0:46:50 to 0:47:12( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that's the factual translation. let me also give you the translation of what it would do. according to nonpartisan sources like the congressional research service, it would decrease gasoline supply and increase price at the pump. what a great result. you know, american families are suffering as it is going into

David Vitter

0:47:13 to 0:47:34( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the summer with historic high prices, and so it's being proposed on the floor measures that would actually decrease supply and increase price. exactly the opposite of what we need. now, mr. president, i am completely open to doing away with all sorts of deductions and exemptions and the like in the

David Vitter

0:47:35 to 0:47:57( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: tax code, but we should do that overall across all industries, across all groups in america as part of fundamental tax reform. we shouldn't just demagogue the issue and target one industry and a few companies. the president's own deficit commission suggested that brand of fundamental tax reform.

David Vitter

0:47:58 to 0:48:18( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: i agree with that general approach. unfortunately, so far the president hasn't led on that issue. perhaps because it would mean not just impacts on quote, unquote, big oil. it may be favored companies of his like g.e. might actually have to pay some taxes, or maybe gold mining companies in the majority leader reid's state of

David Vitter

0:48:19 to 0:48:40( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: nevada would also have to sacrifice very, very attractive special tax benefits. so let's get serious about two serious issues -- fundamental tax reform, and let's look at that and lead on that, and let's get serious about energy. now, mr. president, i also have

David Vitter

0:48:41 to 0:49:02( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: to say i'm deeply disappointed with the mcconnell bill. it does some positive things at the margin in terms of opening up access, but meanwhile, the very first section of the bill, the very first substantive section, which is section 2, actually increases the regulatory burden in the permitting process.

David Vitter

0:49:03 to 0:49:24( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: now, i can tell you, living in the gulf, we have been trying to slog through that overly burdensome regulatory process to let energy companies get permits to begin with. that process is already too burdensome, too cumbersome, too long. it's virtually shut down the

David Vitter

0:49:25 to 0:49:46( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: gulf, produced less energy and thrown a lot of louisianans and americans out of work. we need to streamline that process, we need to accelerate that process and not add any new burdens or any new hurdles in it. and unfortunately, section 2 of the mcconnell bill does exactly that.

David Vitter

0:49:47 to 0:50:07( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: it increases the burdens and requirements and hurdles of even the new obama regulations that have been put in place since the b.p. disaster. specifically, since the b.p. disaster, the obama administration has required containment plans to be presented and approved by the

David Vitter

0:50:08 to 0:50:28( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: interior department before exploration plans and drilling permits are issued. this bill would go further than that and add a new layer and a new level and a new requirement that even before submission to interior, these containment plans would have to be third-party review.

David Vitter

0:50:29 to 0:50:49( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: again, i think this is a completely unnecessary extra burden, extra hurdle, extra layer of requirement. we need to make the permitting process smoother, more streamlined, more accelerated, not move in the opposite direction. secondly, mr. president, while

David Vitter

0:50:50 to 0:51:11( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the mcconnell bill opens up a little bit more access, it's very modest. it doesn't touch the eastern gulf. it hardly touches the atlantic. it doesn't touch the pacific coast. it does nothing on shore, including in our western shale areas where there are enormous oil resources trapped in that western shale which we can

David Vitter

0:51:12 to 0:51:34( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: access because of new and safe technology. so i'm also disappointed that the bill is so modest in terms of the increased access. mr. president, so again, to summarize, this week is pretty darned frustrating for me. it's frustrating because we're not going to do anything. there's going to be a whole

David Vitter

0:51:35 to 0:51:55( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: bunch of sound and fury in the end signifying nothing, all too common an experience here in the u.s. senate. and secondly, when you look at the two specific proposals, they are darned frustrating. the first pure demagoguery, the second moving in the wrong direction in terms of the permitting process and not being

David Vitter

0:51:56 to 0:52:16( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: big and bold enough in terms of opening up access. the united states, mr. president, is the single most energy rich country in the world, bar none. only russia even comes close. no marino country -- no middle eastern country, saudi arabia,

David Vitter

0:52:17 to 0:52:38( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: anyone else, comes close to our overall energy richness, our resources. but we're the only country in the world, mr. president, that cuts 95% of all of those resources off-limits under law, says no, you can't touch the eastern gulf, can't touch the atlantic, can't touch the pacific, can't touch alaska offshore, can't touch anwar.

David Vitter

0:52:39 to 0:52:59( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: going to make it difficult in the western shale. over and over and over we make it difficult to impossible to produce good, reliable american energy right here at home. and most recently, we have done that by virtually shutting down the only productive part of the united states in terms of energy, the western gulf of mexico.

David Vitter

0:53:00 to 0:53:20( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that's what we need to change, mr. president. we need to change that in a big way. now, in closing, mr. president, let me say i'm a proponent of all of the above. it's not either/or. it's not just oil and gas. but it's also not just new, undeveloped, advancing forms of technology and energy. we need all of the above in a

David Vitter

0:53:21 to 0:53:42( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: big way. and so let's come together around that commonsense wisdom of the american people who favor all of the above and let's start doing all of the above aggressively. but that surely has to include much more domestic production of energy.

David Vitter

0:53:43 to 0:54:05( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: open access to all of these vast resources we have. we can do it, we can do it safely, we need to do it to provide some relief to american families. thank you, mr. president. with that, i of a the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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