Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I know everybody is anxious to leave. Very briefly, voting for cloture on this bill will take us off of the single most important issue in America.
The American people are clamoring for legislation that brings down gas prices, and our leadership friends on the other side want to dismiss this issue instead of taking it head on with bold action.
We want to address the issue of gas prices, and the important thing is to stay on the subject. I strongly urge a ``no'' vote on this motion.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, the Republicans had every opportunity, for more than a month now, to talk about energy and to vote on energy. They turned that down. On speculation, they had an opportunity to do that. Even though it was part of their proposal, they dropped it. They had an opportunity to vote on drilling. They dropped that. They had an opportunity to vote on oil shale exploration. They would not do that. They said nuclear power was an immediate need of the [Page: S7507]
people. They would not vote on that.
Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are being--it is being recommended by their leader to vote against LIHEAP. This issue is important to old people, disabled people, and poor people. There are 12 or 13 Republican sponsors of the legislation. So I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, go ahead and vote against your best interests, I guess.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, of course, none of what the majority leader listed has been offered. Not a single consent to allow any of those votes has been offered. That is the point of this vote.
In order to deal with energy--the No. 1 issue in America--we need to have an open process, such as on the Energy bills of 2007 and 2005, where all of the amendments relative and important to this issue have a chance to be considered here in the Senate. None of that has been offered.
The only way it will be offered is to vote ``no'' on getting off this subject and staying on the No. 1 subject in America, open up the process, and allow amendments on all of the issues the majority leader referred to and move forward. That is the way we legislate in the Senate.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, my friend, the Republican leader, has said something that is not true. On this floor, on numerous occasions, and in public meetings on numerous occasions in the past 10 days, I have said we are willing to vote on drilling, we are willing to vote on oil shale, and we are willing to vote on nuclear power. In their package, that is one of their seven amendments, which starts on the road to 28 amendments. We said we are willing to vote on that. Now everybody over there, all
48 of them--or however many there are--should understand you have had the opportunity to vote on those amendments. I have offered it on many occasions, many occasions. So any conversation to the contrary simply is without any factual foundation. The record is replete with what I have said.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, everybody wishes to vote. The majority leader and I have a central disagreement here as to what has been said on the floor of the Senate. We will still be on this bill next week. It will be an opportunity to continue the conversation and, hopefully, get the kind of process that will allow all Senators to participate on the No. 1 issue in America.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, the Republican minority is being misled on this issue. We have had opportunities to vote on every one of your amendments, every one of them. They have been stalling for months on lots of things but in the last two weeks on energy.
Everyone should understand, if you want to vote on drilling, we offered that to you on numerous occasions. Oil shale--we offered that on many occasions. The same on nuclear power. This is an opportunity--and American people should understand this--to avoid legislating. It has even gotten so directed that they are going to take out their frustration on what is going on in the country today--mainly that the status quo is not something that the American people want anymore. They are going to take
it out on old people, disabled people, and poor people. That is what this LIHEAP vote is all about.
Folks, go ahead and vote against LIHEAP. We are going to vote for it.
Mr. McCONNELL addressed the Chair.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I renew the unanimous consent that I offered several days ago that allowed us to begin the process of amendments and listed the first seven amendments that would be offered on my side.
To refresh everyone's memory, the unanimous consent agreement I proffered would have allowed us to go forward and rotate from side to side, as we have done in the past on major legislation of this type, with one amendment on each side. I listed the first seven amendments that would be offered on our side, and it was objected to.
Mr. President, I renew that unanimous consent request.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, the American people have seen here, in the last few minutes, what is going on in the country today. No one denies that their big panacea to all of the problems of gas prices--what they have said was the silver bullet--is voting on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, letting the Governors decide where they want to drill. We said you can vote on that. They don't want to vote on that. It is the same on oil shale and nuclear.
This is a big stall. They have been stalling for 18 months. That is why we have had to file almost 90 cloture motions, because of filibusters they have conducted.
The final answer to all this stalling is going to come on November 4, because the American people are going to make sure that next year there are not going to be 49 Republicans over there.