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Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mrs. McCASKILL. I will speak for 5 minutes. I would appreciate it if you would let me know when I have 1 minute.

Mr. President, you know this is not complicated. You would have to not be walking around in the United States of America to not feel incredible pressure at this moment.

I feel so lucky to be in the Senate, and I feel such a responsibility to communicate the pressure we are all feeling from people who are hurting.

Let me run through a few facts.

Since 2002, profits for the five largest oil companies have quadrupled. Let me say that again. Since 2002, profits have quadrupled. Last year, ExxonMobil made $83,000 a minute in profit--$83,000 a minute.

Now, are they using all this profit to invest in alternative fuels? How about increasing refinery capacity? Oh, no, no. They have their hand out to us. This is the nerve. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and thinking you are going to get a different result.

We are paying oil companies right now. This is the largest package of corporate welfare this country has ever delivered. What nerve does it take for us to give oil companies $17 billion in taxpayer money with those kinds of profits?

This is like the ``twilight zone.'' This cannot be real. We cannot honestly be standing here and saying to the American people: It is a great idea for us to keep giving them your money when they are making $83,000 a minute.

I was reading the paper this morning, and nothing is more expensive than ads in the New York Times. I ask unanimous consent to show an ad in the New York Times this morning.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mrs. McCASKILL. OK. This is it: a two-page spread. Do you know what this costs you? A half a million dollars. A half a million dollars Exxon spent this morning. And guess what. They spent it yesterday morning, and they are going to spend it tomorrow morning. It is a series--all about what a great job they are doing for the American people.

They are spending $2.5 million in the New York Times this week, while Missourians in rural Missouri are scared they cannot go to work anymore. They have no bus they can take. They have no metro they can take. They are trying to figure out how they can drive to and from work, how they can put food on the table, and these guys are spending $2.5 million on PR. It is unbelievable.

We have given big oil, in 2004 and 2005, tax breaks worth over $17 billion over the next decade. What does the other side say? We need to give them more. We have to pay them to increase refinery capacity. Excuse me? We have to pay them--the taxpayers of this country? I do not know how out of touch we could be. We are not asking for a lot. Just take away the taxpayer money. We do not begrudge people profit.

Now, here is what is unbelievable. I do not know how this bill would turn out if we debated it----

The PRESIDING OFFICER. That Senator has used 4 minutes.

Mrs. McCASKILL. Thank you, Mr. President.

I do not know how this bill would turn out if we debated it honestly, but I do know one thing. We have a choice in about 5 minutes. We can do nothing or we can work as hard as we know how to do something. If the choice--if the choice--is to do nothing, then I hope the people of this country rise up and scream like they have never screamed before. How dare us do nothing.

That is what they are about getting ready to vote on. They are going to say: We are not going to even let you proceed to try to do something about this problem. It takes a lot of nerve. It takes a lot of nerve.

Mr. President, I yield the remainder of the time.


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