DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006--CONFERENCE REPORT--Resumed -- (Senate - December 21, 2005)
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Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I have as passionate a feeling against the Arctic Refuge drilling as I know the Presiding Officer and the Senator from Alaska, the senior Senator, have for it. I do not believe, when you look at the facts dispassionately, on their face, that it is going to do any of the things that are promised. On its face, drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge does not help solve America's drilling problem. We are overly dependent. We have only 3 percent of the oil reserves in the world. There is no way for this to make a dent in the world oil supplies, in the supply or price of gasoline or America's energy independence. But that is not the debate today. The debate today is what the Senator from West Virginia was talking about.
Every so often in the Senate we have a gut check about what it means to be a Senator and why we are here and what our duty is--our duty. The arguments we have just heard from the Senator from New Hampshire and the Senator from Mississippi--we all agree we want border money. We all agree we want the money for our troops. We agree we want the money for those hurricane victims. Every single one of us in the Senate knows how this place works. If we say no to this breaking of the rules, which is what is creating this impasse, within hours we can pass this bill with the border money, with our troop money, and with the hurricane money. We can do that.
There is only one thing stopping us. What is stopping us is the fact that in an effort to do what they could not do by following the rules, they are now going to break the Senate rules for a matter of expediency.
Mr. BYRD. Shame.
Mr. KERRY. That is what is at stake. That is the vote.
Mr. BYRD. Shame.
Mr. KERRY. The whole reason this is being put on DOD is to make it tough on Senators. And it is tough--
Mr. BYRD. Yes.
Mr. KERRY. Because they fear going home and somebody says: You voted against the troops.
This is not about the troops. We are all supportive of the troops, and we can have the money for the Defense bill, but we should do it according to the rules of the Senate.
Mr. BYRD. Right.
Mr. KERRY. That is what we are here for. That is what this is about. There is not one Senator here who does not understand that if we say no to cloture now, this can be stripped out. The Senator from Alaska himself has said he would strip it out, that if it does not happen they can take it out, reconvene the conference, we come back, and if it means an extra day to preserve the rules of the Senate, we ought to take that extra day.
The fact is, this bill could have been passed 3 months ago, and it was held up because of a stubborn insistence on the issue of torture. Now it is being held up in order to break the rules in order to be able to do ANWR. I hope our colleagues will stand up for the Senate. It is not pro-ANWR or against ANWR. It is not protroops or against troops. It is for the Senate.