Includes Domestic Exploration, Conservation, Consumer Tax Credits
At a news conference on Capitol Hill today, U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined a bipartisan coalition - informally known as the "Gang of 10" - in unveiling a sweeping energy proposal to reduce gas prices, lessen our nation's dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen America's economy.
The comprehensive New Energy Reform Act of 2008 better known as the "New Era" calls for a focused effort to transition the nation's motor vehicle fleets to fuels other than gasoline and diesel. To ease gas prices in the interim, the proposal includes significant conservation provisions, consumer tax credits, and responsible measures to increase domestic production.
"I believe this effort epitomizes what the United States Senate is all about," said Chambliss, who spearheaded the effort with Democratic colleague Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "Nothing gets done in this body without 60 votes, and you don't get 60 votes without a true bipartisan effort. This has been a cooperative effort on the part of all of 10 members. This has not been easy, and it has been very difficult at times. But the discussion has always taken place in a very professional way, even though sometimes it's been in a very direct way. It is my hope that when we return from the August recess, our colleagues in the Senate - after having just spent time at home with their constituents - will come forward to support this effort."
"I've said for weeks that America has within its reach every resource necessary to be self-sufficient when it comes to energy. We just need the political will and the common sense to make it happen," Isakson said. "Well, when good people sit down with good intentions, they come up with good ideas. There is no silver bullet when it comes to reducing the cost of energy, but Senators Chambliss and Conrad have done an outstanding job leading this group to a number of solutions that I believe can work together to alleviate this crisis."
The Senators believe their compromise energy plan will generate a groundswell of support among the American people as well as their colleagues in Congress and lead to the development of comprehensive legislation to tackle the nation's energy crisis.
The Senators also welcomed the news that Senate leadership would adopt the group's proposal to convene a summit of energy experts in an effort to develop a plan for securing America's energy independence. The 10 Senators first proposed the idea of a bipartisan energy summit in a letter to Senate leadership on June 26, 2008.
Other members of the bipartisan coalition are: John Thune, R-S.D., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb.