The United States Senate may vote on several energy bills later this month, following an acknowledgement from Majority Leader Harry Reid that the Senate is “way behind” on energy-related issues.
Reid said he wanted to put to vote a series of energy legislation bills from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led by Democrat Senator Jeff Bingman, before the end of the month.
Bingman told reporters he doesn’t expect all the bills to be put to the Senate straight away, but that he was hoping to bring them forward one by one.
A number of proposals are close to being finalized, including bills that call for: the Energy Department to build smaller nuclear reactors of maximum 300 megawatts; a tightening of offshore drilling safety measures; and the establishment of a new Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA) that would finance green energy initiatives.
Clean Energy A Priority
Bingman identified the CEDA bill as one of his committee’s main priorities to put before the Senate. Senior Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski has suggested she would support the proposal, though she insisted the $10 billion requested to kick start the project would have to come from budget cuts.
Another bill calling for the repealing of tax breaks for oil corporations will also be put forward as soon as possible. The Democrats have tried to push through such bills in the past but have failed to secure bipartisan support to get through the Senate. However with increasing dissatisfaction over rising oil prices, several Republicans have expressed support for a reduction in tax cuts for oil companies.
Key Statistics – US Economy (source: CIA World FactBook)
- GDP: $14.72 trillion in 2010, compared to $14.33 trillion in 2009, second-highest in the world
- Public Debt: 59% of GDP in 2010, compared to 53.5% in 2009
- Employment & Labor: 9.7% in 2010, compared to 9.3% in 2009. Labor force of 154.9 million (managerial, professional and technical fields: 37.7%; sales and office: 24.2%; manufacturing, extraction, transportation: 20.3%; other services: 17.6%)
- Leading Industries: petroleum, steel, automobiles, aerospace, telecommunications