On Friday, the Office of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released her statement in response to the Senate’s failure to invoke cloture on a House-passed energy bill.
Cloture is defined as the one procedure through which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter in order to overcome a filibuster. Under Rule XXI, the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of not less than three-fifths of the full Senate, which typically means no fewer than 60 votes.
“I am disappointed that the Senate was unable to move forward today on the historic energy legislation the House passed yesterday. The House will work with the Senate on a bipartisan basis to pass a strong energy bill and send it to the President’s desk for his signature,” stated Pelosi.
Those in the Senate who are opposed to the new energy bill, largely Republicans, do not like the roll-back of oil companies’ tax breaks, mandates for alternative energy minimum electricity generation levels by 2020, or the inclusion of pork. The cloture bid was shot down by a vote of 53-42.
The Bush Administration has already said the President will veto the bill if the tax break roll-backs and renewable energy mandates are not amended or removed. The elimination of the tax breaks would cost big oil companies an additional $13 billion over the next decade, and those opposed are concerned that that would hinder their business and drive up oil and gas prices.
Republican critics have stated that government cannot tax better fuel and energy standards and policies into existence and they must be engendered by the free market. They argue that creating taxes and mandates harms consumers and the economy by sharply driving up prices.
The critics say that, for example, the automobile industry already offers and continues to make more of the vehicles that meet or exceed the would-be 35 miles per gallon by 2020 mandate, making such a mandate in reality an excuse to impose punitive penalties and fill government coffers while driving up auto makers’ costs, leading to lost jobs and slower economic growth. In addition, some energy scientists and engineers say that with the right incentives it is possible to create cars that get 100 mpg.
Other critics also say that the massive tax hike penalty on oil and gas companies is being used as a means to allegedly fight global warming, but that this cannot be fought because human beings’ carbon emissions have very little or nothing to do with climate change.
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