Mr. ENZI. Mr. President. I rise today in support of H.R. 527, the Helium Stewardship Act, as amended by the Wyden substitute. This bill is very important to protecting the U.S. supply of helium. Helium is used in MRI scanners, superconductors, and has many other very important uses. For example, helium is even used to test mechanical heart valves to make sure they don't leak.
Helium also has important security implications. It is used by DoD, NASA, and other agencies. The bill helps those efforts by extending the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to sell helium from the Federal Helium Reserve.
The bill also includes important reforms such as provisions ensuring that the Secretary sells helium at market prices, and most importantly, it gets the Federal Government out of the helium business once and for all.
The bill would also reduce the Federal debt and deficit by $51 million. The bill has bipartisan support. In June, the Energy Committee voted to report the helium bill by voice vote. The Senate should pass this bill as soon as possible so we have an opportunity to negotiate with the House.
I understand that some of my colleagues had some concerns with the bill. I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to speak with them before the vote about those concerns. I also thank my colleagues for agreeing to allow this bill to come to a vote. While I do not support every item in the bill, I believe it is a critical piece of legislation that needs to be passed.