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Public Statements

Fraud Enforcement And Recovery Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I, too, rise to speak to a motion to instruct conferees. I understand we do not yet have an agreement to be able to move forward on that.

I first want to indicate that I, as well as the chairman of the Budget Committee, joined with the Senator from Nebraska in supporting his amendment to the budget resolution. But I believe it is not enough just to say what we will not do on climate change. It is very important to say what we will do. So that is what my motion to instruct does. It provides a positive direction for future climate legislation. I thank my colleagues, Senators Boxer, Brown, Shaheen, Cardin, and Lieberman for cosponsoring this motion to instruct.

The budget we pass is truly about investing in America's future. With all respect to our ranking member, for whom I have great respect and fondness, there is a difference in this budget in terms of priorities. There is no question about it. There is a big difference in terms of what we want to invest in--education, energy independence, health care, jobs. I might say coming from Michigan: Jobs, jobs, jobs.

So there is a difference in direction, in values, and priorities in this budget. I believe it is what the American people are asking for. Our policy on climate change has to invest in the future just as our budget does. If done right, climate change legislation will create new jobs, new industries, and it will revitalize and strengthen our economy. So I will offer a motion to instruct in response to other amendments that say what we cannot do. My motion, on the other hand, is what America can do, what we must do.

My State of Michigan is facing serious challenges right now. We have the highest unemployment rate in the country, of 12.6 percent. The hardworking people, the families in Michigan and other States that are struggling, need us to do a climate change policy right so that it does create jobs and transform our economy. Our economy cannot go forward with the same old policies dependent on foreign oil and pollution that harms our health and our economic interests. Climate policy can and must look out for working families and businesses, whether it is a farmer, a manufacturer, or a clean tech engineer.

That is why the motion to instruct that I will be offering refers to a future climate policy that is well balanced to address all of these interests, so it does create jobs and strengthens manufacturing and breaks America of our dangerous addiction to foreign oil. We cannot rely any longer on the same old technologies and the same old fuel.

With new energy solutions come new jobs and new industries. America has always led the world in innovation and we can do it again in a green energy economy if we do this right. We are in the midst of a revolution, an energy revolution. Over 100 years ago, Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing in transportation with the automobile and the assembly line. He also revolutionized the way we pay people in this country. He gave his workers $5 dollars a day to work on the line when it was not necessary to do that, because he wanted to make sure he had people who could buy his automobiles.

Through doing that, that revolutionized people to invest in workers. He
helped create the middle class of this country. In the 1980s we had a computer revolution that changed the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we learn, the way we live. The energy revolution of the 21st century will change our economy, I believe, if done right.

That is why the right kind of climate policy is so important. The motion to instruct that I will be offering will direct the conference committee toward a smart climate policy that will protect and strengthen manufacturing. First we ensure a level playing field in the world economy so climate legislation does not hurt our bottom line. This will protect U.S. manufacturers from international competitors that do not follow the same important environmental standard our companies will have to follow.

Second, new manufacturing opportunities will arise. I believe that. For example, to meet the needs of new clean energy production, we will need to produce clean energy technologies on a massive scale. We are talking about 8,000 parts in a wind turbine. As I have said to many colleagues, we can build every single one of those in Michigan. I know I talk a lot about this. I talk a lot about our economy in Michigan. But I truly believe if our energy policy can turn Michigan's economy around, it will turn America's economy around.

Recent history has shown what happens when we rely primarily on foreign sources of energy. We subject ourselves to less than friendly international governments that can leverage unstable supply and higher prices against the people we represent. The motion to instruct I will offer will guide the conference committees to take steps to further reduce our dangerous addiction to foreign oil.

Furthermore, our domestic energy needs also increase over time, and all sources of clean energy should be part of the portfolio. Diversification of our energy supply is key for security, stability, and opportunity. This is a national and international problem and we must solve this together.

My motion directs the conferees to ensure that all regions contribute equitably and help each other as America transitions to a clean energy future. I also believe a successful climate policy has to include all our economic stakeholders. Agriculture and forestry can make significant contributions to greenhouse gas reduction, perhaps as much as 20 percent, with the right incentives. My motion to instruct provides clear and certain opportunities for landowners so they can achieve emission reductions and benefit from doing so.

Finally, this motion to instruct puts us on the road to a balanced climate policy. With policies that meet these objectives, we can ensure the American public that greater economic opportunity lies ahead, and we can do this while meeting the ambitious emission reduction targets set by President Obama.

Instead of arguing about what we cannot do, I urge my colleagues to embrace what we can do. That is what this motion to instruct relates to--creating jobs, protecting our environment, energy independence. This is what our future is about.

In addition to speaking about the motion to instruct, I would take a moment to say, on the broader budget resolution, this resolution again is different. It is about jobs, it is about energy independence, health care, education, tax cuts, yes, for the middle class who have been overlooked for too long, as well as focusing on cutting the deficit in half during the life of this budget resolution.

We know this deficit has been run up. When I came into the Senate in 2001, we were debating what to do about a $5.7 trillion surplus over 10 years, and colleagues were willing to make decisions, our colleagues on other side of the aisle, were willing to go into deficits for the war in Iraq, go into deficits for tax cuts for a few, go into deficits for a different set of policies.

It is true, this budget resolution reflects what I believe is a different set of priorities that are the priorities of the American people. I am very proud of and grateful to our chairman, the Senator from North Dakota, for his leadership, and I appreciate the ranking member as well for his graciousness, even though we have different views. I very much appreciate the way he and the chairman conduct the committee. But I am proud to say this is different. The American people want a different set of priorities, and that is what this budget resolution provides.


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