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Checklist for Change

Location: Washington, DC

CHECKLIST FOR CHANGE -- (Senate - June 28, 2006)

Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, last week, the Democratic women of the Senate, led by our dean, Senator Barbara Mikulski, held an event at the Sewall Belmont House, which I am very proud to say put forth what we are calling the checklist for change. We came together around the importance of an agenda in Congress that meets the needs of all of the American people.

We have been given an hour this morning to discuss these issues. Our first speaker, our leader, is the Senator from Maryland, who has paved the way for women not only in the Senate but in our country on so many issues. I am, with great pride, yielding to the Senator from Maryland.


Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, I applaud my friend and colleague, Senator Mikulski, who is speaking out eloquently and strongly about the importance of pension and retirement security and pointing out the dangers of the legislation--coming out on a totally party-line vote--coming out of the Budget Committee that we believe would once again raise the specter of Social Security privatization.

So we are sounding the alarm, and we are making clear that the Democratic women of the Senate will stand sentry, as Senator Mikulski said, and we will stand firmly to protect Social Security because we know how many women depend on Social Security.

Part of our effort is to in very simple terms put forth this checklist for change. We know we have to secure our economy in a more competitive world and secure our energy supplies in that competitive world.

Our current energy policy is weakening our national security, hurting our pocketbooks, violating our common values, and threatening our children's futures. Right now, instead of our national security dictating our energy policy, our failed energy policy dictates our national security. We want and need a fundamental change in direction to secure our Nation's energy future.

I believe a strong, balanced national energy policy is a key to strong economic and environmental policies as well.

It is time we decide do we allow our economic security and our national security to be weighed down by a failed energy policy or do we choose a new path? We think, the Democratic women of the Senate, that we need a new path.

Here is a concrete goal. Let's reduce our dependence on foreign oil by at least 50 percent by 2025. How will we get there? It starts by getting back our American can-do attitude and a new commitment, such as the Apollo project that sent a man to the Moon. We know how to do this. Americans are better at setting goals and solving problems than any people in the history of the world, but we are acting as though we can't control our own destiny when it comes to energy, that we can't possibly do what needs to be done to break our addiction to foreign oil.

I have introduced legislation to create a strategic energy fund, to commit our Nation wholly to a new energy future, to invest in alternatives and efficiency, to create jobs, to strengthen our economy, and to free our hands fully to protect our Nation in the world. I don't want to see one more year go by where we are not doing what it takes to prevent us from being blackmailed and extorted by oil regimes that have us literally over a barrel.

The strategic energy fund will invest in renewable energy, such as wind and solar, transform America's vehicles by expanding consumer tax credits, and making sure we have more hybrids and other advanced clean diesel automobiles and trucks.

We will accelerate home-grown biofuels by investing in research and loan guarantees for cellulosic ethanol production.

We will speed fuel infrastructure by pairing increased tax incentives for installation of E-85 pumps with a mandate to have them at 50 percent of our gas stations within 10 years.

And we will unleash American ingenuity by investing $9 billion in a new energy research agency modeled on DARPA, which was created in the Defense Department after Sputnik went up and has given us so much, including the Internet.

We challenge the Republican Congress to make energy independence a priority by passing meaningful energy legislation, such as a strategic energy fund, this session.

I am so proud to stand with my Democratic women colleagues and put forth this checklist for change. It will make a difference in America's future. Let's get about doing the business of America.

I yield the floor for my distinguished colleague from California, Senator Boxer.

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