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Mr. REID. Mr. President, more than a year ago Senators Shaheen and Portman worked on an energy efficiency bill--a good bill. That was more than a year ago. That bill was, as I have indicated, good, but during the past many months, through the energy committee and the work of Ron Wyden and others, that bill was improved greatly. Ron Wyden was chairman of that committee at the time, and they did so many good things with that piece of legislation. We had six cosponsors--three Democrats and three Republicans.
This bill would create 200,000 jobs, and it would help our Nation's energy proficiency significantly.
So I moved to proceed to the bill in September, this past September--and we have been through this a number of times, but I will repeat it very quickly. We were held up from doing that for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the junior Senator from Louisiana wanting to take away the health care for our staffs. That threw a few roadblocks in the way. So without going into detail, we never got that done.
But Senators Shaheen and Portman, as I have indicated, did not give up. They worked hard to incorporate 10 separate bipartisan amendments into this bill. So the bill was good last September, but it is terrific now.
As a result of that, we improved the number of people who were willing to support this legislation. We went from 3 and 3 to 7 and 7--14 cosponsors of this bill. On the Republican side are Senators Portman, Ayotte, Collins, Hoeven, Isakson, Murkowski, and Wicker. On the Democratic side are Senators Shaheen, Bennet, Coons, Franken, Landrieu, Manchin, and Warren. There is a good mix of Senators on both sides. So we worked very hard to finalize a more bipartisan bill. I worked with them. I didn't give up. We continued to try to move forward. We did that, as we did with childcare recently. It was in March, actually. I have looked for every bipartisan bill we could come to the floor on. We did it with the childcare bill, as I said, and we should do it on this bill. That was my anticipation. And we were able to do it, I thought.
So this Shaheen-Portman bill is a very fine bill. I reached out to Republican Senators. To be honest, I didn't reach out to them; they reached out to me. They wanted to work to get this passed. Originally, the arrangement was, let's just pass this bill as it is.
Right before the Easter recess, I was asked: How about a sense-of-the-Senate resolution on Keystone?
I said: I don't want to do that. We already have an agreement.
Anyway, we relented and said OK. So I came back after the Easter recess, and that agreement we had, well, they said: Let's change it. We no longer want a sense-of-the-Senate resolution; we want a vote on a freestanding piece of legislation.
I said: We have an agreement.
Anyway, I relented and we had that proposal. So we had that all worked out. Then we were told there needs to be five more amendments.
So, as I have said before, this has been very hard to do, this shell game. It can be described in other ways, but it has been very difficult to pin down the Republicans for anything more than a day or two because they keep changing their minds.
So here we are, and my offer is this: If Shaheen-Portman passes, with the seven Republican cosponsors, we will have a freestanding vote forthwith on Keystone, with whatever time is fair. I have put 3 hours in the proposal I will make in just a minute, but it doesn't matter--whatever time they want for a freestanding vote on Keystone, which they have been wanting to have for a long time.
You get the picture, Mr. President. That is what I think should happen. It is a good bill, but it is so much better than it was a year ago. It is a great bill now, not a good bill.
So, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by me after consulting with Senator McConnell, the Senate proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 368, S. 2262; that there be no amendments, points of order, or motions in order to the bill other than budget points of order and applicable motions to waive; that there be up to 3 hours of debate on the bill equally divided between the two leaders or their designees; that upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill; that the bill be subject to a 60 affirmative-vote threshold; that if the bill is passed, the Senate proceed to Calendar No. 371, S. 2280, at a time to be determined by me after consultation with the Republican leader but no later than Thursday, May 22, 2014--and I will just enter the comment here that if they want it earlier, they can have it, but that is the date I have suggested--that there be no amendments, points of order or motions in order to the bill other than budget points of order and the applicable motions to waive; that there be up to, again, 3 hours of debate on the bill equally divided between the two leaders or their designees; that upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill; that the bill be subject to a 60 affirmative-vote threshold.
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Mr. REID. Mr. President, I will be very brief.
My friend talks about the left-leaning Senators. Three of the Democratic Senators who sponsored this legislation could be called anything but leaning left: Landrieu, Manchin, and Warner. That brings a smile to anyone's face.
It is a fiction that we haven't had votes to debate energy policy. We have had trouble having bills because of the obstruction of the Republicans. But we voted on the Keystone matter before we did the budget debate where we had over 100 votes. That was last year. So we debated Keystone last year, we had a vote on it, and we are willing to have another vote on it.
It is my understanding we are now going to enter into debate on whatever people want to talk about for the next hour, and I understand we are going to have a series of votes at 3:45 p.m.
I ask unanimous consent that all remaining time postcloture on the motion to proceed be yielded back.
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