ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND SECURITY ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - December 07, 2007)
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Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise to engage in a colloquy with the Majority leader, Senator Reid. I do so to discuss a critical measure that will help keep jobs in the United States and give a major boost to the domestic production of energy-efficient vehicles.
As my colleagues know, the pending energy bill has a 40-percent increase in CAFE standards for vehicles sold in the U.S. This is by far the largest mandate on any industry in this bill.
In addition to this mandate, I am pleased to have led the effort working with Congressman Dingell, Senator Bingaman, and others, to include a new program in the bill that would provide $25 billion in low-interest direct loans to the auto industry to help them retool facilities to produce energy-efficient vehicles to comply with the very challenging CAFE standards in the bill.
I believe that this loan program is only fair since we are asking the auto industry to spend approximately $80 billion in new capital investment to comply with the new CAFE title.
As many of my colleagues know, establishing a loan program of this type is a two-step process. The first part, setting up the program, has been accomplished. The second part, however, providing the resources to back the loans, has not yet been done.
So I rise to ask Senator Reid, as you complete negotiations on a final energy bill, will you give me your assurance that you will provide the resources necessary to fund the loan program that is authorized in the current energy bill?
Mr. Reid. Mr. President, no one works harder on behalf of her constituents than Senator Stabenow. She is a real leader in keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States.
Mr. President, I give the Senator from Michigan my word that I will work with her and the Appropriations and Finance Committees to find and provide the resources that would fully implement this loan program.
Ms. STABENOW. I thank Senator Reid for his assurances and all of his leadership on the energy bill.
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