Reid Loses—You Win!

I know that we are supposed to expect a level of duplicity and shadiness from what is shaping up to be one of the worst Congresses on record, but even this was a new low. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) introduced a $56 billion economic stimulus package that would have spread all sorts of money all over (sorry folks, no checks coming back in this one), while the following language was buried in the midst of it:

SEC. 1602. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 152 of division A of H.R. 2638 (110th Congress), the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, the terms and conditions contained in section 433 of division F of Public Law 110–161 shall remain in effect for the 19 fiscal year ending September 30, 2009.

In layman’s terms, Reid tried to extend the ban on shale oil exploration and development in the Rockies at a time when our economic future is hanging in the balance. Apparently, to Harry Reid, economic prosperity equals massive amounts of money going overseas and obscene energy prices for private citizens. If this underhanded attempt to destroy any hope of energy independence does anything, it shows that the Senate Majority Leader’s strings are pulled by radical environmentalists who aren’t concerned with such bread and butter issues as high gas prices when there are as of yet undiscovered weeds and the occasional frog to protect. More than that, this action shows that Reid has no interest in the needs of the citizens he supposedly serves.

One thing needs to be made perfectly clear: Bailing out Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion in the expressed hopes that this will save Main Street is only half the issue. The other half is to stimulate growth in the economy and that goes back to the issue of opening energy exploration and development. We will keep much more money at home, create jobs, lower energy prices and starve those regimes who use petrodollars to fund terrorist organizations. Our entire economy could take on a far more secure, more domestic stance that promotes growth. This is one of the clearest and easiest decisions any politician can make. Even Nancy Pelosi finally saw the necessity, if not the wisdom, of domestic energy production. Sure, it was the political necessity that caught her attention, but we’ll take what we can get.

Why can’t Reid manage to take the leap? Toeing the extreme-green line, Reid has made it clear that he does not accept that oil is part of the solution to our energy woes. On September 12, 2008, at the opening of the bipartisan Senate Energy Summit, Reid told the audience that:

We need to hasten our transition away from oil.  That means incentivizing the production of home-grown renewable alternatives.  We also need to bring prices down for the oil we use.  That means going after any speculator, price gouger or oil-producing nation who game or cheat the system and leave American consumers paying the bill.

I am pleased to say that Reid’s bill died the death is so richly deserved by failing to achieve the 60 votes it needed. Reid asked for and received a roll call vote, and here is how it came down, grouped by vote position:

Yeas (52)

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dole (R-NC)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)

Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)

Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Nays (42)

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)

Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)

Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Not Voting (6)

Biden (D-DE)
Graham (R-SC)

Kennedy (D-MA)
McCain (R-AZ)

Obama (D-IL)
Stevens (R-AK)

We are not out of the woods yet. Pelosi’s energy bill, which limits off-shore drilling to at most 20% of the reserves out there, couldn’t stand on its own so it is part of this year’s continuing resolution. That will have to be dealt with by the incoming administration. But during the time the Congress has, don’t be surprised if Reid and Pelosi try to sneak in more bans and restrictions.

Contact your senators and congressmen and let them know how important lowered energy prices and higher oil supplies are to you, your family and your business. The Congress is up for reelection this year. Remind them that it is their votes in Washington that will determine how you vote at the polls. Visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov for contact information.