Unanimous Consents Request—H.R. 2126by Senator Lisa Murkowski
Posted on 2014-12-16
MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I join with my colleagues and express
my disappointment that we are again at this place: A good measure that
has good, strong, bipartisan, bicameral support has been blocked. It
has been objected to.
I made a comment last evening when we once again attempted to bring up the unanimous consent order to advance the energy efficiency bill. It kind of feels like ``Groundhog Day,'' the movie, where it is just the same scene over and over again, the third time to the floor on a measure that enjoys strong support. It kind of begs the question, why? What is the problem with it? But as both my colleagues Senator Shaheen and Senator Ayotte from New Hampshire have outlined in terms of the specifics, there is no opposition there.
As the cosponsor, my colleague from Ohio has pointed out these four provisions that are contained in this House measure have so much bipartisan support that it passed the House unanimously coming over here.
So we have to ask: If we cannot advance a measure in this body such as energy efficiency that enjoys this level of support, how can we do anything around here? I asked the question months ago, when I was being stopped in the hallway by reporters asking: What is going to happen to the energy efficiency bill, and I was bullishly optimistic because, as I said, this is a measure that enjoys strong support. It enjoys strong support and it is common sense.
I said: If we can't demonstrate that, we can't get a measure such as energy [[Page S6911]] efficiency through both Houses and enacted into law, how are we ever going to get to the really thorny, difficult issues? I have been working with my colleagues on the appropriating side of energy and water, the Senator from California and Senator Alexander from Tennessee working with us on the authorizing side. First it was me and Senator Wyden, and then it was me and Senator Landrieu, and in January it will be Senator Cantwell.
We will be trying to figure out how we are going to deal with the issues surrounding nuclear waste disposal. These are tough issues. These are contentious. We have got some issues that will face us in the new Congress relating to the export of our energy resources. These are also going to be contentious. How are we ever going to get to the tough ones if--on the easy ones, what we describe around here as the low- hanging fruit--we cannot get through this process? So I have to say, it is late--it is not the 11th hour; it is beyond the 11th hour because we have just taken the last vote, the last vote of the 113th Congress. We are done, and what we are leaving people with is uncertainty. When we are talking about those ways that we as a Congress can help right some of the problems in this country--how we can get our economy on a better track, how we can move towards more jobs and job creation--the best thing we can do is offer a level of certainty.
Well, right now you have these manufacturers of these water heaters that are saying: We don't know whether we are going to have any kind of a reprieve from this regulation or not. So we are not only not going to be making these water heaters, but that means we don't have the workers, those in the manufacturing companies who are going to be there or the people that are selling them. Think about what we have done with this one hurdle that we just couldn't get around. Yet we couldn't get a straight answer as to what the opposition--what the push-back--was.
Something is wrong with this process when we cannot advance measures such as the energy efficiency bill, a measure that has been worked on for years--diligently and in good faith--in a very, very open and bipartisan way. So I am hopeful that the 114th Congress is going to bring with it not only some fresh air--fresh perspective--but a willingness and a commitment to move through a process. If there is an objection, it should be stated, and we can work it out. But to continue to block and block when we have the level of support on a measure that we have, that is just not right. There has to be a better way. So I have pledged to my colleagues, the sponsors of this bill and all of those who have been working hard on it, that we are taking this back up again in the new year. We are going to work to make sure this has, yet again, the committee process, now for the third time, and we will work to advance it to the floor. It is my hope that if someone has problems with it, they have a solution to fix it, and they then come down and offer their amendments, we will debate them, and we will move on. But we have to be in a better place than where we have ended this evening.
So it is with regret that I say we will take it up again next year. But my hope is that we will do right by our energy policy, by focusing not only on the production side, not only the renewable side, but our efficiency measures that we have included in this bill. We are going to do right for a lot of the right reasons.
With that, I yield the floor.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.