New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act and the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007 -- Continued

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: April 3, 2008
Location: Washington, DC


NEW DIRECTION FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, NATIONAL SECURITY, AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AND THE RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY CONSERVATION TAX ACT OF 2007--Continued -- (Senate - April 03, 2008)

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Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, with all due respect to my good friend the majority leader, this is somewhat of a manufactured controversy. Where are we? We have an underlying bill, negotiated on a bipartisan basis by Senator Shelby and Senator Dodd. Then we have, with all due respect to our friends on the other side, an expression of incredulity that 60 votes might be required for something in the Senate.

Let me quote my good friend the majority leader who said last year:

In the Senate, it has always been the case you need 60 votes. I don't have 60 votes.

Senator Reid said in January of last year:

Sixty votes are required for just about everything. We may have to come up with a number of resolutions that require 60 votes.

My point is--I say this with the greatest respect and admiration for my counterpart--acting like this is unusual is--well, it is clearly not the case.

Why would Members on my side want to subject this proposal to a 60-vote threshold? It is the most controversial provision in the bill. It is the principal reason my side was unwilling to go to the bill as previously crafted. So why would anyone feel aggrieved that the most controversial part of the bill, the issue which needed to come out in order to craft a bipartisan beginning, which Senators Dodd and Shelby did, why would anybody be incredulous that 60 votes would be required for this? That is routine in the Senate. It is also frustrating to the majority. I was in the majority recently. But that is the way it is. To act like it is somehow unusual strikes me as somewhat odd.

I would be happy to propose a unanimous consent request now, if the majority leader would like me to, that we have a vote on this amendment in the very near future at a 60-vote threshold. It is quite routine and common in the Senate. It would allow us to dispose of the Durbin amendment and move on to completion of the bill in the near future, something most of my Members would like to do. I assume, based on what my good friend said, that he would object to that, so I would not propose it, but I would be happy to. It would allow us to do what I think he wants to do, which is to go on and vote on the Durbin amendment and move ahead with amendments on both sides of the aisle.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.

Mr. REID. Madam President, I apologize. I was interrupted. Did the Senator make a suggestion? What was that?

Mr. McCONNELL. I did not make a consent request. But I said I would be happy, if you would like me to, that we vote on the Durbin amendment shortly with a 60-vote threshold, which is pretty common around here on all matters of controversy. I was pointing out that this Durbin amendment is the most controversial part of the bill. Both sides knew that. I don't know why we don't have a vote at 60 like we do on virtually everything of controversy in the Senate. Then dispose of the Durbin amendment and move on.

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