Making Oil and Gas Companies Pay For What They Take

The House voted yesterday to stop letting oil and gas companies make money off of public property without paying the American people their fair share. For too long, energy companies have been taking oil and gas from the American people for free and then selling it back to them at record prices. The House put its collective foot down and sent a loud and clear message to energy companies that their days of taking oil and gas from the American people without paying for it are over. After being taken advantage of by giant energy corporations, the American people struck back, demanding that they receive billions of dollars in royalty payments. Passage of this amendment also deals a stunning blow to the pending Kerr-McGee lawsuit, in which the energy company is seeking to relieve itself of $60 billion in royalty payments. Under this amendment, Kerr-McGee would no longer be entitled to new leases with the federal government if it prevails in its lawsuit.


One Step Closer to English as Official Language

We will exercise all of our effort to make sure that we get ‘English as the national language’ through conference successfully. We have a national anthem and a national pledge, how 34 Senators think we should not have a national language is inexcusable to me and I think the House Conference Committee will agree.


Bush Administration is Misleading America on Deficit Reduction

The Bush administration’s claim that it will cut the deficit in half by 2009 is the wrong goal. It misleads the American public by suggesting the nation’s budget outlook is improving. The fact is the President’s fiscal policies are making the long-term budget outlook worse, not better.

While the administration claims the deficit is coming down, it leaves out large costs from its outyear projections, such as realistic ongoing war costs, the cost of AMT reform beyond this year, and the long-term costs of making the President’s tax cuts permanent, especially the recently passed, back-loaded expansion of Roth IRAs. When these costs are added in, the deficit explodes.


Marriage Amendment is Divisive, Misguided, Politically Motivated

Today’s markup of the constitutional amendment concerning marriage, in a small room off the Senate floor with only a handful of people other than Senators and their staffs present, was an affront to the Constitution. I objected to its consideration in such an inappropriate setting and refused to help make a quorum. I am deeply disappointed that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee went forward with the markup over my objection. Unfortunately, the Majority Leader has set a politically motivated schedule for floor consideration of this measure that the Chairman felt compelled to follow, even though he says he opposes the amendment.

Constitutional amendments deserve the most careful and deliberate consideration of any matter that comes before the Senate. In addition to hearings and a subcommittee markup, such a measure should be considered by the Judiciary Committee in the light of day, open to the press and the public, with cameras present so that the whole country can see what is done. Open and deliberate debate on such an important matter cannot take place in a setting such as the one chosen by the Chairman of the Committee today.

The Constitution of the United States is an historic guarantee of individual freedom. It has served as a beacon of hope, an example to people around the world who yearn to be free and to live their lives without government interference in their most basic human decisions. I took an oath when I joined this body to support and defend the Constitution. I will continue to fight this mean-spirited, divisive, poorly drafted, and misguided amendment when it comes to the Senate floor.


Traditional Marriage Needs Protection Now

While some may question the need to address this issue at this particular time, the simple answer is that the institution of marriage continues to be under assault by a coordinated campaign of legal activists. Since 2004 alone, state courts in Washington, New York, California, Maryland, and Oregon have found traditional marriage laws unconstitutional, and a federal judge in Nebraska has struck down a state constitutional amendment.

Numerous other lawsuits have been filed and will continue to be filed across the nation – even as voters take to the polls in support of laws protecting marriage. The question presented to this committee today was simple: Do you believe traditional marriage is important enough that it deserves full legal protection? In my view, the answer to that question is also simple. Yes.

Marriage must be protected by the Constitution, and the American people should be able to choose, not have invalidation of traditional marriage laws forced on them by courts. The amendment we passed will provide that protection. It will define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and protect against judicial activism.


Correcting Our Oil Reserve Vulnerability

This is good legislation to address a vulnerability in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve system that was unveiled after last year's hurricanes, but which has not yet been resolved. With a strategic refinery reserve to protect the nation's refinery capacity, we can help minimize future supply disruptions and be better prepared for extreme circumstatnces.


Re: Subject:$ 8,338,162,385,897.57

This budget resolution puts a much-needed cap on this year's spending bills. It's clear the Senate wants to spend more money, and this Budget Resolution will help us keep spending down. Without this resolution, there would have been no cap on spending, making it nearly impossible to enforce fiscal restraint as Congress considers its annual spending bills. Together with the budget reforms that we are pushing, this resolution is a vital tool to help us keep spending under control. By keeping both taxes and spending down, we can reduce the deficit and balance the budget.


Correcting Capps's on Natural Gas Drilling

As energy prices continue on a steep, upward trajectory, and the debate in Congress over matters related to offshore energy exploration begins to attract the attention of a larger audience, much will be cited and suggested in the weeks to come by various interest groups and, by proxy, their constituent lawmakers, including Congresswoman Capps, about the safety, feasibility, and necessity of offshore natural gas production. The following is meant to help you separate some of the most distorted and specious claims from the actual facts as they appear on the ground.So-called environmentalists claim: Drilling ONLY for natural gas is a myth – oil will always be involved.

The truth: A familiar refrain, for sure – but a stunningly inaccurate one. Canadian companies drill only for natural gas every day in the Great Lakes without touching oil. But don’t take my word for it – contact them yourself. I recommend a gentleman named Greg Stringham, vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. His number is (403) 267-1106.


Re: Subject:$ 8,338,162,385,897.57

Early this morning, the House voted to pass the FY07 Budget Resolution. As a member of the House Budget Committee, I was pleased that we were able to get a fiscally responsible budget passed.By passing the House budget resolution, we are taking important steps on the long road to fiscal responsibility. Although, I would have favored deeper reductions in spending, this budget addresses the need to spend responsibly and reduce the deficit.

The FY 07 budget furthers our plan to support our growing economy, strengthen our nation's most critical programs, reform the federal government, and spend the taxpayers' dollars wisely. Slowing the growth of government spending is never easy, but we have made some tough choices and we are making progress.


Peterson's Drilling Proposal a Waste of Time

With all the work that Congress needs to do this year, it is a shame that we are wasting time today considering Rep. Peterson's proposal to allow new drilling in our sensitive coastal and marine areas.

Last year I led the bipartisan opposition to a similar proposal from Rep. Peterson that was soundly defeated.Here we are again, considering a flawed proposal that fails to responsibly address our country's energy needs and at the same time jeopardizes our economically and environmentally valuable coastal areas.