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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 - Motion to Proceed

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Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009--MOTION TO PROCEED -- (Senate - July 31, 2008)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, our good friends on the other side of the aisle apparently do not believe $4.50 a gallon gasoline is sufficient emergency to open the Outer Continental Shelf, those portions of it that are currently off limits which--by the way, 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf is currently off limits. I renew my consent agreement with the following modification, that the enactment date is triggered when the price of gasoline reaches $5 a gallon.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

The Senator from Colorado is recognized.

Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, and I will object again, it is a phantom solution, and therefore I do object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, if $5 a gallon gasoline is not an emergency, I am compelled to ask what is the definition of an emergency? Maybe it is $7.50 a gallon gasoline. Therefore, I renew my consent request with the following modification: that the enactment date which triggered the implementation of the amendment would occur when the price of gasoline reaches $7.50 a gallon.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

The Senator from Colorado is recognized.

Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, it is clear the Republican leader wants to move forward with the opening of places in the Outer Continental Shelf. I would say, on the Democratic side, there are a number of us who supported opening places in the Outer Continent Shelf, including additional significant acreage in the Gulf of Mexico, the 8 million acres that were part of the lease sale 181. We also know there are hundreds of millions of acres in Alaska that are not in a moratoria area, on which we support exploration and inventory of those places. What we are doing here with those triggers being proposed by the Republican leader again is not getting to real solutions that deal with the energy crisis we have and not coming together in a bipartisan way to move forward to have a package of energy legislation that would work for America. I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I am going to propound my consent agreement with a modification one more time and then I am going to engage in a colloquy with Senator Coleman. It is his amendment that he had hoped to offer, which I initially offered consent that we take up. Then these additional amendments were a different trigger, these additional consents were with a different trigger. I say to my friend from Minnesota, I will give our friends on the other side one more opportunity to maybe get their attention. Then we will discuss the amendment of the Senator from Minnesota.

Mr. President, I renew my request with the modification that the trigger be $10 a gallon at the pump.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

The Senator from Colorado is recognized.

Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. President, if we were moving forward with a package of energy legislation that would address the fundamental national security, economic security, and environmental security issues we are facing, and this were part of that kind of package, this might be very well worthy of consideration, including some of the triggers that have been mentioned. But it is clear to me this is another one of the tactics that essentially is wanting to get this Senate and this Congress to the point where we simply are not going to be able to get to a bipartisan energy package, and so I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. We know why we cannot get to a bipartisan energy package. The American people are saying--some 70 percent of them--that we ought to open the Outer Continental Shelf, those portions that are currently off limits, and it is my understanding that 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf is currently off limits. I have been proposing a series of consents, basically drafted consistent with the Coleman amendment that would have been offered had we had a chance to offer it.

I would ask my friend from Minnesota if he would describe his proposal?

Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. President, I would say to the Republican Leader, first, I want to make it clear that if I understand the objection, the Republican leader has offered an amendment that if gas reaches $10 a gallon, more than double the record levels, the other side is objecting to opening areas of the Outer Continental Shelf, areas that would yield at least 14.3 billion barrels of oil and 55.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas at a minimum--at a minimum; there are other estimates that say if we opened all of these areas, up to 80 billion gallons of gas.

So I understand the objection and that as a result of that objection, we cannot move forward on increasing the supply of oil, that we cannot then move forward and open these areas on the Outer Continental Shelf that could yield at a minimum over 14 billion barrels of oil. Is that the result of the objection placed by the majority?

Mr. McCONNELL. I say to my friend from Minnesota, I think he has it entirely correct. I have offered a series of consent agreements here to give us an opportunity to take up and pass the Coleman proposal with differing triggers, starting at $4.50 a gallon and going up to $10 a gallon. Our friends on the other side have objected to passing legislation even with those ascending triggers, leading me to believe there is opposition on the other side to opening the Outer Continental Shelf, 85 percent of which is currently off limits--and over 70 percent of the American people support that--even if gasoline reaches $10 a gallon.

Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. President, I would note to the leader that, by the way, the Coleman-Domenici amendment also has conservation pieces in it. I believe we will discuss that later.

But as I listen to the objection from my friend from Colorado, talking about phantom solutions as we look at the issue of the rising price of oil, I think there is bipartisan understanding that part of the problem is the basic law of supply and demand; that demand is increasing, and if you want to somehow affect demand, I would take it that the supply piece is the other piece. And as I understand the Coleman amendment, this is an opportunity to increase supply.

I would also note that part of the discussion has been about the issue of speculation, that there is money going into believing that oil is going to be scarce in the future, and that is somehow driving up the price of oil today. I would ask, then, if, in fact, we would open the Outer Continental Shelf, that we would increase supply, finding more oil of at least 14 to 15 billion barrels, would that not indicate that in the future there will be less scarcity because we are increasing supply, and would it make common sense that if there is going to be less scarcity, more supply, we are going to tap into America's resources, that would have an impact on the price of gas today?

Mr. McCONNELL. I say to my friend from Minnesota, it makes sense that if you were betting on the future, so to speak, which I guess is what the futures market does, if there were signs of optimism, an indication that the United States of America was going to do something within its boundaries to deal with this problem, it is reasonable to expect that the markets would respond favorably.

I might add--it was not alluded to specifically by my friend from Minnesota, but I might add that the underlying bill which we have been seeking to amend is actually opposed by the New York Times, the most liberal newspaper in America, as being ineffectual and actually making the matter worse. So clearly doing that alone runs the risk, according to the New York Times, of destroying or at least adversely impacting one of America's great markets. But also refusing to amend it to allow such reasonable proposals as the Coleman amendment means we would be making an ineffectual response to the issue that is the most important issue in the country.

Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. President, I have one more observation. First, I do wish to make it clear that when the Republican leader talks about the underlying bill, he is talking about the majority proposal on speculation, a proposal that does not do anything to increase production?

Mr. McCONNELL. Yes.

Mr. COLEMAN. A proposal that does nothing to deal with more conservation? A proposal that suggests it is going to focus on speculation only, and that is what the New York Times says would actually do more harm than good?

Mr. McCONNELL. The Senator from Minnesota is entirely correct.

Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. President, I would note that this issue of speculation is something that has come before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on which I am now ranking member and I was, in the past Congress, the chair. We looked at this issue. It has come before Homeland Security, a committee that works on a very bipartisan basis. I would tell the Republican leader that at least one of the witnesses has come forward and said: If we do all we can do, if we do conservation, if we let the world know we are serious about ending our addiction to foreign oil, that we are serious about not being held hostage to what Saudi sheiks or Chavez or Ahmadinejad does, the suggestion is that prices could drop like a rock.

I am not going to suggest that I know. I would not suggest to the Republican leader that in fact they will drop like a rock. But common sense says that if we increase production, if we do those things, tell the world that we are not going to be stuck with scarcity, that we are going to use the great power of America to tap into our resources, that, in fact, would have an impact.

I would also note, for those who say it is only going to have an impact in the future, would that be such a bad thing, for this Congress to be looking forward to the future? We are going to have this debate 10 years from now if we do not do anything. In 10 years, we will be saying: If only 10 years ago we had opened the Outer Continental Shelf, we might today not be 80 or 90 percent dependent on foreign oil. I would suggest that we have the debate now.

One final comment. We have not talked much about the issue of natural gas. I represent a State which is cold. The Presiding Officer represents a State that gets very cold in the winter. I would suggest that we are going to come back here in September, and the cost of heating our homes is going to start to go up as the leaves turn color and the temperature starts to drop. By October, the snows may hit. By November, they actually may be here. In December and January, it is going to be below zero. And the price of natural gas is going through the roof.

My farmers in Minnesota have trouble today buying fertilizer and will next year because folks will not speculate on what the price of natural gas will be.

I would then ask the Republican leader, that in objecting to the Coleman-Domenici proposal, the majority is not only stopping the possibility of tapping into billions of gallons of oil but also trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, a market that is much more susceptible in the short term to increases of supply.

Is that the result of the Democratic objection, that we are not going to be able to tap into this and tell the world that there are trillions of cubic feet of natural gas available, and I cannot tell my folks in Minnesota, when it is cold in November and December and prices shoot through the roof, that we were not able to act because the Democrats objected to the unanimous consent offered by the Republican leader.

Mr. McCONNELL. Well, my friend from Minnesota is entirely correct. I learned from the distinguished Senator from New Mexico, who has been our leader on energy issues for a number of years, that we can be entirely independent and sufficient in natural gas. We have enough here in the United States, if we would simply go get it, to take care of our natural gas needs.

So, yes, we are walling off natural gas as well as oil, exacerbating all of these problems, driving up the price of fertilizer and every other product in which natural gas is used, refusing to exploit our own resources. It strikes the American people, and we know that by looking at all of the public opinion polls. It is not making any sense at all.

I thank my friend from Minnesota for his observations.

Mr. President, it is not only offshore that we have enormous potential to increase our production. It has been estimated that we have three times the reserves of Saudi Arabia right here in our country onshore in oil shale.

Last year, this new Democratic Congress passed a moratorium on going forward with oil shale research and development. I think that moratorium was a foolish thing to do. It should be lifted.

UNANIMOUS-CONSENT REQUEST--AMENDMENT NO. 5253

I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the Senate bill to address oil shale leasing, the text of which is identical to amendment No. 5253 filed by Senator Allard to the Energy bill.

I would further ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time, passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, and any statements related to the bill be printed in the Record.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I would remind the Republican leader that even the oil companies--Chevron Oil--have said we do not even know whether the technology is out there to be able to develop oil shale. At the earliest, it is 2015, 2016 when we will know that. We had the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior, and in his testimony before the Energy Committee, he said the same thing.

So the consequences of moving forward with the legislative proposals propounded here by the Republican leader essentially would do nothing more than to lock up millions of acres of land and millions of barrels of reserves to oil companies that already are getting the highest record profits of any company in the history of the world. That includes companies such as Shell, which reported a 33-percent increase in its second-quarter profit on Thursday, Exxon, and all the rest of the oil companies.

So if this is about giving the national public resources away to the oil companies, then I would say we should support the Republican leader's unanimous consent. But it is not about that, it is about creating a new energy frontier for America. Therefore, I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I see the Senator from New Hampshire is on his feet with some observations about this objection.

Mr. GREGG. I guess I am a little surprised at the objection. The first objection to your first amendment was that we did not have a comprehensive approach. Now you suggested another approach; we would add to a comprehensive approach that appears to be objected to.

The gravamen of the objection appears to be that we do not know if we can produce oil shale, oil from oil shale; that the technology and the location of the oil shale is not necessarily far enough along to be able to produce, and therefore we should not even look at it.

As I understand the leader's amendment, it says simply remove the regulation which was put in place last year which barred the Interior Department from putting out regulations which allow us to find out whether the oil is there and whether we can remove it.

So there seems to be an inconsistency here on the reasons why people would object to taking off that regulation which was put in place last year by the Democratic leadership.

Secondly, the known reserves from oil shale are projected to be two to three times the known reserves of Saudi Arabia. That is a huge amount of oil, potentially. I do not think we want to not look there and say we are going to throw a sheet over our head and not look at this potential reserve which would give us as a nation more potential oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, that we are not going to allow the Department of Interior to begin the process of developing regulations that will, if the oil is there and if it can be used, expedite the production of that oil. That makes no sense at all.

As I understand, the proposal that came earlier from the Democratic Party was to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That is 3 days' worth of oil. If there is 2 trillion barrels of oil in oil shale, that is 40,000 days of oil. Well, I do not know. I would think the American people would like to have the opportunity to find 40,000 days of oil in the United States rather than have to buy it from Iran or from Venezuela, places that do not like us very much, even from Saudi Arabia. I think they would like to have the money kept here in the United States.

Yes, the oil companies are making some big profits. They are spending it to look for oil also. But when they are not spending it to look for oil, they are actually paying some dividends. Who gets those dividends? Well, if they are American companies, I suspect that many Americans are, Americans who invested in pension funds, Americans who have 401(k)s.

Are we to say they shouldn't get those profits and we should, rather, send them to Saudi Arabia or to Iran or to Venezuela so Hugo Chavez gets the profits? How absurd. On its face it is absurd. We have 2 trillion barrels of oil sitting there, and all the leader has asked for is to lift the regulation which will let us find out whether we can look for it and whether it is there.

Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. President, will the Senator from New Hampshire yield for a question?

Mr. GREGG. I was propounding a question to the leader.

Mr. McCONNELL. I would say to our good friend, the other side had plenty of time to discuss their proposal.

I say to my friend from New Hampshire, he is entirely correct. Why would we not want to look. Maybe we don't want to look because we might find something. If the potential is as vast as the Senator from New Hampshire portrays and as other experts have indicated, it seems to me we would be foolish in the extreme not to pursue this further. The American people simply would not understand.

Mr. SALAZAR. Will the Republican leader yield for a question?

Mr. McCONNELL. Not at this time.

I think the American people would not understand our reluctance to continue to explore this alternative given the vast potential it seems to possess.

Mr. GREGG. If I may ask the Republican leader a further question: Have we not been on the floor now for 2 weeks, asking for the right to offer a series of amendments to address these issues that could be voted up or down, that would be fairly presented, where the minority would have the right to present its amendments so we could present to the American people the case for Outer Continental Shelf oil, oil shale, nuclear power, electric cars, for a variety of other options that might get us out from underneath this severe issue which is the price of oil? Have we not been asking for the opportunity to present those amendments in a fair and open manner in the tradition of the Senate and been denied that right? Are we not being denied that right one more time here today?

Mr. McCONNELL. The Senator is entirely correct. All we are asking for is the way the Energy bill was handled last year, the way the Energy bill was handled in 2005, in which we had an open amendment process, in which Members from both sides of the aisle were given an opportunity to offer their amendments. Forty or fifty amendments were adopted on each bill. It ultimately led to a law. What we have been engaged in in the last 2 weeks is not designed to lead to anything other than a check-the-box exercise and move on. That is why Republicans in great numbers have insisted that we stay on this subject, the No. 1 issue, that we continue our effort to both find more and use less. The only way to achieve that is with a balanced approach, not a sort of single-issue approach which is in the underlying bill.

In addition to addressing gas prices directly, there are also a great many Members of the Senate on both sides of the of the aisle who understand we need to move in the direction of more nuclear power. A lot of us think the French have not done a whole lot right in recent years, but one thing they have done rather well is develop a nuclear power industry that supplies the vast percentage of their electricity. Had we been given the opportunity, we would have been offering a nuclear power amendment.

Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of a Senate bill to promote nuclear power generation, the text of which is identical to amendment No. 5179 filed by Senator LINDSEY GRAHAM to the Energy bill. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and any statements relating to the bill be printed in the Record.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. KLOBUCHAR). Is there objection?

Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, reserving the right to object, I was personally on the floor two or three times when Senator Reid offered to Senator McConnell to allow them to bring this amendment to the floor. They said: No, we want to talk it over. We have so many more amendments. Of course, time ran out. Now they are back again. We have given them ample opportunity to talk about nuclear power, to offer their amendments, offer their energy package. Each time they couldn't get it together. This is the gang that can't drill straight.

I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I will use leader time to allow us to get up to the same 30 minutes that was used by the other side of the aisle.

Mr. GREGG. Madam President, I was wondering if the leader could explain to me how the Democratic assistant leader could object to something the Senator didn't object to?

Mr. McCONNELL. I know Senator Domenici and Senator Alexander both are knowledgeable about the nuclear industry. I see Senator Domenici, our energy expert in the Senate, on his feet.

Mr. DOMENICI. Madam President, might I say to the Republican leader, I am here sitting down because you and the Senators on my side are doing such an excellent job of letting the American people know what has been going on. It has been a thrill to listen, because I would hate to be on the other side. It looks as if they are very anxious to make sure you don't finish your statements. They would like to take a little bit of your time. If I were in their shoes, I would too. Because the truth is, their leader changed the course for debate on energy, meaningful energy amendments, when he decided he would put all the amendments that the process would hold, he put them on so there could be none offered. That is why we are here today, because no amendments could be offered and voted on. Anybody who stands up and says we had a chance, what chance? If we would have offered something, the objection would have been: The tree is full. It is out of order. I already asked the Parliamentarian if an amendment would be in order, if I tendered an amendment to such-and-such amendment, and the Parliamentarian said: You couldn't offer it. So that is why none of the amendments you refer to could have been offered.

There has been one area in which we can all stand up and say we legislated in the normal way and got something good, and that is the current set of rules regarding nuclear power. We now have 16 nuclear powerplant applications filed and waiting their turn to start construction. We had zero when we started this process. We need some additions to that which are in the amendment you propose to make sure it works, to make sure this wonderful start of nuclear power for America hits the few things it still needs to be competitive. You have been denied the opportunity to discuss it. We are not talking about that, but to offer a full-fledged amendment that will require a little bit of debate and then vote. That is what we have been denied. That is why I am here saying the public is going to understand this. We should have voted on the Outer Continental Shelf, opening it, with amendment and full debate. We can't do it because they won't let us. It is that simple.

Mr. McCONNELL. I thank the Senator from New Mexico.

Madam President, what time remains on this side to achieve the 30 minutes?

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The 30 minutes has been consumed.

Mr. McCONNELL. I will use a few more minutes of leader time. If the other side wants to expand their time, it would be perfectly permissible with me.

There is one other area that is important to me and to other Members on both sides and that is coal. We have vast reserves of coal in this country. There is a promising technology we know works to turn coal into liquid. We have a customer, the U.S. military. We have an interested potential customer in American commercial airlines. One of the amendments that would have been offered was related to coal to liquid.

Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of a Senate bill to promote coal-to-liquid energy, the text of which is identical to amendment No. 5131 filed by Senator Bunning to the Energy bill. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and any statements relating to the bill be printed in the Record.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. SALAZAR. Madam President, reserving the right to object, the purpose of the amendment is laudable. For those of us who work on the Energy Committee, including the Senators from Montana, we recognize that coal is to the United States what oil is to Saudi Arabia. There are ways in which we can advance the usage of coal, including coal gasification and carbon sequestration which we all support. But the proposal put on the table is not something that would get that kind of bipartisan support.

I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I know the Senator from Texas is on his feet. I know he has strong feelings about this issue.

Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I say to the distinguished Republican leader, it sounded as though we were almost going to get to vote. The Senator from Colorado spoke so passionately about the importance of using coal. Of course, the big concern we have is coal can pollute. But the Senator is no doubt aware of a remarkable technology that has actually been around a long time that can take coal and convert it to synthetic fuel that the Air Force is now using to fly airplanes. Isn't it a fact that in terms of transportation fuels, talking about gasoline and diesel and aviation fuel, that represents one of the biggest challenges from an energy standpoint to this country and that actually coal-to-liquid technology, such as the leader described, represents one of the great opportunities for becoming less dependent on imported oil from the Middle East?

Mr. McCONNELL. Absolutely. Of course, I come from a big coal-producing State. The amendment I sought to call up is actually authored by Senator Bunning, my colleague from Kentucky. We are, not surprisingly, enthusiastic about this option. But putting aside the Kentucky-specific interest, the military is looking for a reliable, secure source of fuel for our planes. They don't want to be dependent on the Middle East.

Mr. CORNYN. I say to the Republican leader, this is not just an energy issue, this is a national security issue. Let me ask the leader, since he comes from a State that produces significant amounts of coal, whether these figures given to me by my staff are accurate. It has been reported to me that the Air Force uses about 2.6 billion gallons of jet fuel a year at a total cost of about $8 billion. That is $8 billion the United States appropriates and goes to the Department of Defense and the Air Force to buy jet fuel. It is estimated that for every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil, the Air Force--and we can see in parentheses the U.S. taxpayer--spends an additional $600 million in fuel costs. Do those figures I have cited sound approximately correct?

Mr. McCONNELL. I am not an expert on the figures, but it sounds correct to me. I know the military has great desire for the kind of reliable, secure energy source this would provide.

Mr. CORNYN. Are you aware or would you have any reason to disagree with the experts who say that synthetic fuels such as coal to liquids are competitive with $70 to $80-a-barrel oil, plus an additional 10 percent that would be needed to figure out how to capture and divert the carbon dioxide that would be produced by the process? Do you have any reason to disagree with the experts on that?

Mr. McCONNELL. Those are statistics I have heard in the past. It certainly underscores what a promising alternative this would be, were we willing to pursue it. I thank my friend from Texas for his thoughts.

Madam President, I see the Senator from Tennessee is on his feet as well.

Mr. ALEXANDER. I had a brief question for the Republican leader.

Nearly 2 weeks ago, when the Democratic leader brought the speculation Energy bill to the floor, isn't it true that we met and said we look forward to a balanced debate where we can get a result, and we believe in the law of supply, as well as demand, and, therefore, we think we should come up with a proposal for finding more and using less?

On the finding more side, which we talked a lot about today, we had offshore drilling and oil shale, which would produce over time about 3 million barrels a day. We talked about nuclear power for more American energy.

But we have even more on the demand side, on the using less side. In our case, the idea was, was it not, to create an environment in the United States where, as rapidly as possible, we could encourage the use of plug-in electric cars. Is there not much support on the other side of the aisle for that?

So my question to the leader is: Why is it that when Republicans, nearly 2 weeks ago, suggested a proposal for finding more that would produce 3 million more barrels a day, eventually--that is a third more production--and using less that would save 4 million barrels a day, which together would have cut in half, over time, our imported oil--why is it we have been unable, for the last 2 weeks nearly, to actually begin to debate and adopt such amendments and produce a bill that would send a signal to the world that the United States of America is taking an action to find more oil and to use less oil, which would bring down the price of gasoline? Why have we not been able to do that?

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I say to the Senator from Tennessee, I am perplexed. The American people do not understand taking a time out until next year. The senior Senator from New York, for example, was recently quoted as saying we are not going to do anything about this until next year. Well, the American people are paying these high prices now, and I do not think they sent us here to engage in a 2-week partisan battle and achieve nothing.

The Senator from Tennessee is entirely correct when he says our goal from the beginning, on this side of the aisle, was, as he reminds us frequently--and as the sign points out--to both find more and use less. Virtually every member of our conference is in favor of almost every conservation measure you can think of.

Our fundamental problem in here is it seems as if the other side does not want to do any finding of more. They may share our view about using less, but they do not want to find any more, as if somehow we could simply conserve our way out of this problem. I know of not a single expert in America who thinks we can, by conservation alone, solve this problem and get the price of gas at the pump down.

Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I thank the leader.

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois is recognized.

Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, before the Republican leader leaves the floor, I would like to reconcile the remaining time allotment.

I understood he said we could have extra time in the next segment for Democrats, to make up for the additional time used by the Republican side; is that correct?

Mr. McCONNELL. Yes, that is fine.

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