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Senate Proceeding on Jul 30th, 2010 :: 0:39:00 to 1:00:55
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George Voinovich

0:38:57 to 0:39:19( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. dorgan: mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. voinovich: mr. president, i'd like to speak in morning business up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. voinovich: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the

George Voinovich

0:39:00 to 1:00:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: George Voinovich

George Voinovich

0:39:20 to 0:39:41( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: floor today to support the oil spill response improvement act of 2010. it's a bill that seeks to directly deal with one of the most serious issues facing our country today, the aftermath of the deepwater horizon incident and how the federal government responds to what will likely turn out to be one of the worst

George Voinovich

0:39:42 to 0:40:02( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: ecological disasters that has taken place off our nation's shores. the bill is targeted and supports jobs in the gulf coast region, prevents our nation from relyin further on foreign nations for our energy needs, and protects the american taxpayer from being placed on

George Voinovich

0:40:03 to 0:40:23( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: the hook should, god forbid, a future incident ever occur. and specifically, the bill gives the president the ability to raise caps on economic damages done by oil companies, it creates a price andersen model which all entities operating in the gulf would share the rk, like we do with 104 nuclear power plants.

George Voinovich

0:40:24 to 0:40:45( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: i don't think the public is aware of the fact that they all have the same insurance policy and if something would go wrong with one nuclear power plant, all the other ones' insurance would be called upon and no question about liability. they just take care of the problem. we need to do the same thing in terms of these oil rigs. it maintains the integrity of the oil spill liability trust fund.

George Voinovich

0:40:46 to 0:41:06( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: it provides states an additional funding system to be used to protect the ecosystem. it accelerates the lifting of the deepwater moratorium in the gulf of mexico. it creates a bipartisan spill commission with subpoena power to investigate causes of the deepwater horizon explosion. these are good ideas that i think that will address the

George Voinovich

0:41:07 to 0:41:27( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: cris at hand. they're good ideas that will help get people back to work in the gulf. i know that senator reid has proposed an alternative piece of legislation. i understand it maintains the current moratorium on deepwater drilling off the outercontinen outer continental shelf, creates a liability regime that would likely limit production in the

George Voinovich

0:41:28 to 0:41:48( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: gulf of mexico only the largest of oil companies, and that it raid the oil spill liability trust fund to pay for untested efficiency programs. now, i welcome a robust debate, but looking at the schedule next week, my understanding is that the majority leader will likely

George Voinovich

0:41:49 to 0:42:11( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: fill the tree and not allow any amendments. so what we're probably going to see is a republican-democrat side-by-side taken care of in one day. now, to be candid, this is a much-too-serious issue to cram into one day.

George Voinovich

0:42:12 to 0:42:32( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: with just side-by-side proposals. and i think it gives rise to those watching what we're doing here in the senate with some feeling tha

George Voinovich

0:42:33 to 0:42:54( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: here is not genuine and disingenuous and that, quite frankly, if we do this next week, i think what it will do is further cause the public to think less of the institution of the united states senate. and regardless of whether you're

George Voinovich

0:42:55 to 0:43:16( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: republican or democrat, you ought to be concerned about the fact that since polling has been done of approval of the united states senate, the numbers today are the worst that we've ever seen. so something is going on out there and they're watching what we're doing, and they're saying, ese people seem to be more interested in partisan politics

George Voinovich

0:43:17 to 0:43:38( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: who's going to win the next election in terms of how many new senators or in the house of representatives, who's going to control the senate -- or the house, instead of really lungeinlookingat the problems confronting us instead of say, can' can't you people work together. the fear in this country today,

George Voinovich

0:43:39 to 0:43:59( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: i have never seen anything like it. and i think all of us should be concerned about how the people in this country feel about what we're doing here. whether you are democrat or publican, environmental advocate, oil industry employee, i think all should agree that

George Voinovich

0:44:00 to 0:44:22( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: congress needs to respond intelligently to the situation with action that balances environmental risks with our nation's energy requirements. much of the responsibility for this bill should lie on the shoulders of a few bad actors in the private sector and they're primarily with b.p., and i -- i

George Voinovich

0:44:23 to 0:44:45( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: have to say that, from my looking at this, there's gross negligence. it's just amazing what they knew about and didn't do, and i think that will come out. although imagine there's going to be enough blame to go around once we've had a chance to step back and see just what happened.

George Voinovich

0:44:46 to 0:45:08( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: the most important thing is that decisions this administration has made not only in reacting to the spill but also in its general attitude towards domestic oil and gas production, i think, have been disastrous for the gulf region. last year i sat down in my office with secretary ken

George Voinovich

0:45:09 to 0:45:30( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: salazar to talk about domestic oil and gas production in our nation'nation's energy strategy n that meeting i conveyed to him that i've always believed that one of the most pressing challenges america faces today is reducing our reliance on foreign sources of energy. i called it the second

George Voinovich

0:45:31 to 0:45:51( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: declaration of independence. finding more oil and using less. i told secretary salazar that i was concerned about the administration's actions that were limiting energy production in the united states. he disagreed with me. secretary salazar said the department was in the process of restructuring and undergoing a thorough review to ensure that proper oversight of the oil and

George Voinovich

0:45:52 to 0:46:13( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: gas industry was being provided. he pointed out the department was moving forward with lease sales in the atlantic and that, in his opinion, things were just fine. i took him at his word and waited but didn't see any change in the department's attitude. i sent a letter to the secretary

George Voinovich

0:46:14 to 0:46:35( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: on april 19, april 19, 2010, reiterating my concern that his department was ignoring its obligations to oversee domestic oil and gas development and focusing too much of its attention on resources on renewed efforts to promote renewable energy projes that made good photo ops but would have little effect in meeting our nation's long-term energy needs. i expressed further concern that

George Voinovich

0:46:36 to 0:46:57( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: efforts to lease areas of the outer continental shelf for oil and gas production were being restricted. for example, in november of 2009, the department of interior acted to shorten the lease terms for a specific sale of leases in the gulf of mexico. the shortening of the lease terms will likely do nothing to

George Voinovich

0:46:58 to 0:47:18( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: guarantee more discoveries but, rather, serves to increase risk as companies are rushed to complete production before the expiration of their lease. three months later, i have yet to receive an answer to my letter, and this is particularly disappointing to me because i consider secretary salazar, a former colleague, a friend and

George Voinovich

0:47:19 to 0:47:39( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: i've always respected him. and, mr. president, i would like to -- to iert in the "congressional record" the letter that i tonight is secretary sal -- that i sent to secretary salazar. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. voinovich: meanwhile, the gulf of mexico is now under a

George Voinovich

0:47:40 to 0:48:00( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: revised moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling imposed by president obama and the department of interior. this moratorium jeopardizes 30 %of this nation's domestic oil -- 30% of this nation's domestic oil production and 13% of our natural gas production. 33 drilling platforms are currently idled ithe gulf of

George Voinovich

0:48:01 to 0:48:21( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: mexico. now, that doesn't sound like a large number, but keep in mind that these rigs are really the size of factories. each platform supports as many as 1,400 direct and indirect jobs, which means that as many as 46,200 jobs could be lost in the short term because of this

George Voinovich

0:48:22 to 0:48:43( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: moratorium. as these good-paying jobs, this could amount to as much as $10 million in lost wages per month/per platform. further, the moratorium threatens the livelihood of more than 300,000 oil and gas workers in the region. the loss of revenue will be in the billions.

George Voinovich

0:48:44 to 0:49:05( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: a six-month moratorium could result in a $147 billion loss in local, state and federal revenue over the next ten years. oil and gas production in the gulf of mexico is a significant revenue stream for the federal government. a moratorium on production that lasts six months could cost the

George Voinovich

0:49:06 to 0:49:27( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: federal government between $120 million and million in lost royalties and $300 million to $500 million in government revenue in just 2011, that's next year. now, this is sure to have a devastating effect on our nation's long-term national security. i've said over and over again that americans are hurting from our addiction to oil.

George Voinovich

0:49:28 to 0:49:49( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: i'm not sure they fully realize the extent of our national security and, indeed, our very way of life is threatened -- threatened -- by our reliance on foreign oil. every year we send billions of dollars overseas for oil to pad the coffers of many nations that do not have our best interests at heart.

George Voinovich

0:49:50 to 0:50:10( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: like venezuela, whose leader has threatened to cut off his oil exports. today, over 80% of the world's oil reserves are in the hands of governments and their respective national oil companies. 16 of the world's 20 largest oil companies are state owned. russia has prove than it has no

George Voinovich

0:50:11 to 0:50:32( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: qualms with using energy as a weapon. in venezuela, hugo chavez has forcefully consolidated the nation's vast oil reserves under the control of their state-owned oil company. he frequently uses the company as a political leverage in his region. now, with the rise in national

George Voinovich

0:50:33 to 0:50:53( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: oil companies around the world and the apparent weaponization of the globe's energy resources, u.s. domestic oil production has been on a decline. you know, we now import nearly 60% of our oil, and as a consequence, we're sending

George Voinovich

0:50:54 to 0:51:14( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: billions of dollars overseas and putting our fate in the hands of regimes that do not have our best interests at heart. for example, in 2007, we spent $327 billion to import crude oil and refine petroleum products.

George Voinovich

0:51:15 to 0:51:36( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: now, in 2008, the amount we shipped overseas spiked to more than $700 billion. in other words, we take american money and send it overseas. and 55% of that money, or nearly $400 billion, went to oil exporting opec nations. today, oil amounts for over half our trade deficit.

George Voinovich

0:51:37 to 0:51:57( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: and our dependence on foreign oil is even made more troubling when you consider our nation's financial situation. the national debt stands at $13.3 trillion, more than double the $5.6 trillion thatxisted when i came to the senate in 1999.

George Voinovich

0:51:58 to 0:52:20( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: by the 2010, the national debt is expected to have grown to over $14 billion. last year we borrowed $1.4 trillion. and i don't even use the words anymore, to g.d.p., the percentage of g.d.p. the best i can explain the soup that we're in is that last year, for every dollar the federal

George Voinovich

0:52:21 to 0:52:42( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: government spent, we borrowed 41 cents. and most people when i tell them that, they just can't believe it. but that's the situation. and this year, we're going to borrow $1.5 trillion, or another year where we borrow 41 cents or 42 cents f every dollar we spend. and over half of the

George Voinovich

0:52:43 to 0:53:03( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: privately-owned national debt -- this is something. people should be concerned about it -- it's being held by foreign creditors, mostly foreign central banks. in fact, foreign creditors have provided more than 60% of the funds the u.s. treasury has borrowed since 2001, according to the department of treasury. and who are the creditors?

George Voinovich

0:53:04 to 0:53:24( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: according to the treasury department, the thr largest foreign holders of u.s. debt: china, japan, and the opec nations. now, these concerns lead me to introduce -- led me to introduce the national energy security act last year with senator byron dorgan. the bill expands development of

George Voinovich

0:53:25 to 0:53:47( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: domestic oil and natural gas by streamlining the inventory and permitting of the most promising areas of the outer continental shelf. and by the way, the group that's supporting this, a gowp of former admirals and general -- a group of former admirals and generals who basically said we've got to do something because of the fact of too much reliance on foreign oil, we are

George Voinovich

0:53:48 to 0:54:08( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: in terrible shape, we are in -- on thin ice in terms of our national security. in addition, the bill provides $50 billion in federal loan guarantee authority for low-carbon electricity, including nuclear and advanced coal. promotes the electrification of the transportation fleet to reduce dependence on foreign oil. use less.

George Voinovich

0:54:09 to 0:54:29( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: supports building the crucial infrastructure necessary to create a rebust, reliable national grid. and strengthens electricity transmission, including giving ferc the power to site transmission lines. americans today demand access -- demand action, and they demand we come together in a bipartisan fashion to solve not only this

George Voinovich

0:54:30 to 0:54:50( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: crisis in the gulf but our larger energy crisis. for ten years, i've been a member of the environment and public works committee, and for ten years, i have tried to coax congress into harmonizing our energy, our economy, and our environment. and congress has refused, and now the chickens have come home

George Voinovich

0:54:51 to 0:55:11( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: to roost and we're paying the price because we weren't able to get together. mr. president, i believe that the best message that we can send the world is that we get it it. we must demonstrate that we can safely and responsibly produce oil off our shores while also

George Voinovich

0:55:12 to 0:55:33( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: promising ourselves that we are going to use less by undertaking a renewed effort to make the united states of america the most oil independent nation in the world. the most oil independent nation in the world. and i envision an american ten years from now where we can have

George Voinovich

0:55:34 to 0:55:54( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: enough oil to take care of our needs. i imagine an america that at least is at -- is the least reliant country in the world on oil. an america where our economy's not threatened by our reliance on foreign energy sources. it will be an america that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs through responsible development of our nation's

George Voinovich

0:55:55 to 0:56:18( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: resources and through the creation of new industries in the field of alternative energy. wouldn't it be great for our children and grandchildren to one day celebrate the time america put aside its differences and come together to announce what i refer to as the second declaration of independence?

George Voinovich

0:56:19 to 0:56:39( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: to find more and use less. i believe that with this attitude, we can rekindle the american s self-reliance, innovation, and creativity to usher in a new era of prosperity. and the first step is to pass the oil spill improvement act, to get people back to work in the gulf, and to give the department of the interior the

George Voinovich

0:56:40 to 0:57:00( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: tools it needs to provide proper oversight of the oil and gas industry. and, second, congress needs to do its job, make the passing of a comprehensive energy bill a priority and provide certainty as to how our nation will supply energy to its economy in the future. and again, i would iterate and

George Voinovich

0:57:01 to 0:57:21( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: call upon my colleagues, the majority leader, the minority leader that for us next week to put out the republican proposal and the democratic proposal and to have back-to-back votes really will do nothing but

George Voinovich

0:57:22 to 0:57:42( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: increase the cynicism that's out there among the american people about what we're doing here in the united states senate. next week we should finish up the small business bill, get on with that. we ought to get on with the consideration of the kagan nomination by the president and come together and say, let's get serious, let's work during the

George Voinovich

0:57:43 to 0:58:05( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: august break to try and see if we can't come together on a compromise between the two back-to-back bills so that maybe when we get back in september, we can have something that we can all agree on and get passed and reassure the american people that we're serious about dealing with their problems and maybe even give consideration -- i know this will b difficult --

George Voinovich

0:58:06 to 0:58:26( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: but to look at what many of us have suggested and that is to look at the bill that byron dorgan and lisa murkowski put together that came out of the energy committee on a bipartisan basis, perhaps look at a bill that senator rockefeller and i have worke on for over two years that deals with capturing and sequestering carbon, to look at a title that deals with nuclear energy that i've worked

George Voinovich

0:58:27 to 0:58:47( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: on with senator lieberman and others and get something done. it may not be satisfactory to some of thenvironmental groups that are out there. it may not be satisfactory to a lot of the business groups, but at least we'd move the ball down the field this year so that,

George Voinovich

0:58:48 to 0:59:11( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: again, people know that we're serious about less reliance on foreign sources of energy and also genuinely concerned about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. i've been -- as i said, i've been around here, 12th year on environment and public works. for years we wanted to do

George Voinovich

0:59:12 to 0:59:36( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: something about nox, sox and carbon, bring down the caps. the environmental groups said no, we won't agree to that. we have to have four p's and include greenhouse gas emissions. so we did nothing. so all that period of time, i'll never forget, the secretary of state, when she was the senator from new york, and she wanted to compromise because the adirondack council and the folks from the smoky mountains agreed that if we did the three p's --

George Voinovich

0:59:37 to 0:59:58( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: reduce nox, sox and mercury, we can move along. and environmental groups came along and they gave her the villain of the month award. hillary clinton gets the villain of the month award because she's trying to work on doing -- to work on a compromise that will move us down the road. so i just think that we have some time left. i know it's going to be difficult because we have the backdrop of the election facing

George Voinovich

0:59:59 to 1:00:19( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: us and i would happy to once that's over, that we have a robust lame-duck session so we can deal with some of the things that are on the minds of the american people and hopefully, mr. president, perhaps this commission that you and i wanted to see done on the floor of the senate, that the president finally had to do through executive session, can come back

George Voinovich

1:00:20 to 1:00:44( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: here with some positive suggestions on how we can deal with our debt and these budgets that are not going to be balanced as far as the eye can see.i yield the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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