Mr. DOMENICI. Madam President, I am here to lead off for the Republicans. There are two others. Senator Brownback is here, and there may be another Senator, Senator Allard. I say to them, I am only going to make a 2-minute or 3-minute statement and then yield to whoever wishes to go first. I would like them to hear what I say.
Yesterday, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Byrd, issued what I believe to be a very telling and extraordinary statement. He said: It became clear that an attempt to add language to the supplemental---- That is the supplemental appropriations---- repealing the two-decade-old ban on offshore oil and gas drilling would be successful, resulting in the necessity of having to produce 60 votes on the Senate floor to strip the repeal.
And so for that reason, the markup in the Senate Appropriations Committee on two important bills that fund the government was canceled.
I will say that not only does this statement contradict claims of the majority about why the markup was canceled, it also crystallizes exactly why the last 9 days in the Senate have resulted in absolutely nothing. The majority is afraid of allowing the Senate to vote on increasing American production. They are afraid to let that happen because a vote just might yield results.
We have spent 9 days debating this bill. During this time, we could have [Page: S7836] considered dozens of amendments, just as we did on the energy legislation in 2005 and 2007, and without a doubt, because the majority leader has taken sole control over the process, we have been held to zero votes. So zero votes, I say to my fellow Americans, cannot yield results. When you have no votes, you cannot accomplish anything. That means you cannot add to the offshore reserve that can be made available for oil and gas production. It remains as is, no matter how much is there, no matter how much we could end up drilling for so the American people could look out and say: By producing our own, we don't have to waste all our money sending it overseas, and the price might come down.
My last observation before I yield to my good friends is that I continue to hear comments from the other side that say we should not be drilling because all we say is drill, drill, drill, and that is the only thing, and we don't need to do that; we need alternatives.
We can have all the alternatives we would like--and I am surely in favor--but we are going to be using crude oil or something much like crude oil for at least a generation--that means 20 years minimum--because we cannot get off crude oil any faster. The oil products we use for our cars, our trucks, and our airplanes we cannot change over fast enough, so we have to use oil. And if we don't produce more of our own, we all know what we are going to do is buy from others and continue to send the money overseas.
It is not just drilling because we want to drill, drill, drill; it is drilling because we don't have enough oil. And if we find more, we import less. That should be good, and the American people sense it is good. That is why so many of them have said let's open the offshore for drilling.
I yield the floor.