Mr. KERRY. Although I was not present to vote on the Energy bill passed last night, I would like the Record to reflect my opposition to the bill and the process by which it was passed.
I voted for the Democratic Energy bill, H.R. 4, last Congress. When the same bill came up for a vote last night as S. 14, I was announced against it. The reason is that debate on the Energy bill was closed down prematurely before consideration of important provisions such as renewable portfolio standards, clean air standards, and climate change could even take place.
Furthermore, there is no indication that the Senate and House conference committee is going to lead to any type of meaningful bipartisan negotiations. In fact, the Republican leadership has already boasted they will do little if anything to defend the Senate position. Instead, they have announced that intention to rewrite the bill in conference. Apparently the Senate process has little meaning in this regard. It was just a ticket to a conference committee and a free hand in drafting a partisan bill.
The Nation needs a progressive, forward-looking energy policy that strengthens our national energy security, safeguards consumers and taxpayers, and protects the environment. Unfortunately, I believe passage of this legislation has put us on a fast track towards creation of an extreme Energy bill in conference that abandons each and every one of those core principles.