Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: July 23, 2008
Location: Washington, DC


STOP EXCESSIVE ENERGY SPECULATION ACT OF 2008--MOTION TO PROCEED -- (Senate - July 23, 2008)

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Mr. GRAHAM. Americans are probably wondering what the Congress is doing to solve the Nation's energy problems? Apparently, just asking each other questions.

What I would like to do is do something. I would like to have a comprehensive plan that would address the fact that most of you out there who are listening to me are hurting. You are having to fill up your car's gas tank with $4-plus gas. Food prices are going up, and we are fiddling while your budget is burning.

I cannot explain this; I do not know. But you are figuring this out. The Congress is at an all-time low in terms of approval rating. It seems to me this is something we could all agree on: how to address our energy needs.

Seventy percent of our oil comes from overseas, most of it from the Mideast. If you feel good about that, great. I do not. I think most Americans would like to get away from that. There is oil off the eastern coast.

I do not know why you would not want to add more supply. If there are leases that the oil companies have now they are not using, they expire in 6, 8, or 10 years, and they have to pay to renew them. I would imagine if there is oil out there, they would go get it.

But there is a lot of oil and gas, they tell me, off the east coast. But there is a moratorium on us being able to explore for it. Lift the moratorium, add it to our supply. Every barrel of oil America can extract from American-owned resources is one less barrel we need from the Mideast, and it makes us more independent. And, yes, get away from using oil. I am all for that. But that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Just by lifting the moratorium at the executive level, oil prices have come down about $20.

Nuclear power--everybody talks about it. The French, 80 percent of the French power comes from the nuclear industry. They recycle the waste too. They do not put it in the ground. They know what to do with the waste. Surely we can be as bold as the French.

Anyway, there is a lot we could do, but we are choosing to do nothing. We are choosing to blame each other.

There is a bill on the Senate floor that addresses one part of the problem, speculation. We should be dealing with speculators, we should be adding domestic inventory, we should be doing something about nuclear power to make sure we can expand our nuclear footprint. It would be good for the environment. It would make us less dependent on fossil fuels, and, yes, we should come up with new cars that run on batteries.

We should be doing it all. We should do it together. All boats rise if we could work together. This is one time when Democrats and Republicans, if we would lay down the partisanship and focus on America's interests, would look better. But we have a bill that allows us to do one thing, and that is ridiculous. We should be doing a bunch of things together.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, America is watching and they are not pleased.

I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut is recognized.

Mr. LIEBERMAN. Madam President, before my friend from South Carolina leaves the floor, as usual, but not always, I agree with him. I hope we can get to a point where we can deal with both of those issues, offshore drilling and the development of more nuclear powerplants.

I wanted to clarify for the Record, when you said we should be as bold as the French, you were speaking only of their use of nuclear power?

Mr. GRAHAM. Yes. I would like to refine my remarks. But I would like to add, if I may, the French, with all joking aside, the French have figured out how to use nuclear power in a safe manner. And we can learn from everyone, including the French.

I say to my good friend from Connecticut, he has the right attitude about his job. I wish we all would adopt it.

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