Sec. 146. Qualified green building and sustainable design projects.Opponents argument for voting NAY:Sen. SPECTER: H.R. 6049 would revive important tax provisions that expired at the end of 2007 and extend provisions that are set to expire at the end of 2008. I support extension of the R&D tax credit, the renewable energy tax incentives, and many other important provisions in this package.
Despite the positive elements of this legislation, the main sticking point is whether temporary extensions of tax relief should be offset with permanent tax increases elsewhere. The White House issued a statement recommending a Presidential veto of this bill in its current form. [Vote NAY to] allow the Senate to work its will and pass legislation that can be quickly signed by the President.
Reference: Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act;
; vote number 2008-150
on Jun 17, 2008
Voted YES on addressing CO2 emissions without considering India & China.
OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This is a motion on an omnibus spending bill, sending instructions to the committee resolving differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Sen. Boxer introduced this motion, and Sen. DeMint introduced a counter-motion. Voting for the Boxer motion means you favor Boxer's method over DeMint's method, which means speeding up Congressional action on global warming.Opponents argument for voting NAY:Sen. DeMINT. When we are talking about trade agreements, there needs to be a level playing field. This motion would prevent Congress from passing any law with new mandates on greenhouse gas emissions that would harm the U.S. economy or result in job loss unless both China and India had the same mandates--in other words, if we had a level playing field. It is not going to help the environment in the United States or the world if we pass mandates that raise the cost of doing business in our country, if we create mandates that do not exist in
India or China.Proponents argument for voting YEA:Sen. BOXER. I rise to speak against the DeMint motion and in favor of the Boxer motion. The DeMint motion is a throwback to 10 years ago when everybody, including myself, was saying we better watch out and not do anything about global warming until the undeveloped world acts. We cannot do that anymore. This is a time when we need to stand up as the leading country in the world and say that we can fight global warming, and we can win this fight.
But what happens with the DeMint motion, he gives China and India a veto power over what we should be doing. Imagine saying we are not going to do anything about human rights until China acts. Why would we give up our chance to take the mantle of leadership and finally grab hold of this issue? I cannot look into the eyes of my grandchildren and tell them: Sorry, I am giving over my proxy to China & India, and I can't do anything about it.
Reference: Motion to Instruct Conferees (China-India) re: S.Con.Res.70;
Bill Motion to Instruct S.Con.Res70
; vote number 2008-132
on May 15, 2008
Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies.
Creating Long-term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN) Act
- Title I: Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Act--denying a deduction for income attributable to domestic production of oil, natural gas, or their related primary products.
- Title II: Royalty Relief for American Consumers Act--to incorporate specified price thresholds for royalties on oil & gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Title III: Strategic Energy Efficiency And Renewables Reserve--makes the Reserve available to accelerate the use of clean domestic renewable energy resources and alternative fuels.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This legislation seeks to end the unwarranted tax breaks & subsidies which have been lavished on Big Oil over the last several years, at a time of record prices at the gas pump and record oil industry profits. Big Oil is hitting the American taxpayer not once, not twice, but three times. They are hitting them at the pump, they are hitting them through the
Tax Code, and they are hitting them with royalty holidays put into oil in 1995 and again in 2005.
It is time to vote for the integrity of America's resources, to vote for the end of corporate welfare, to vote for a new era in the management of our public energy resources.
Opponents support voting NO because:
I am wearing this red shirt today, because this shirt is the color of the bill that we are debating, communist red. It is a taking. It will go to court, and it should be decided in court.
This bill will increase the competitive edge of foreign oil imported to this country. If the problem is foreign oil, why increase taxes and make it harder to produce American oil and gas? That makes no sense. We should insert taxes on all foreign oil imported. That would raise your money for renewable resources. But what we are doing here today is taxing our domestic oil. We are raising dollars supposedly for renewable resources, yet we are still burning fossil fuels.
Reference: Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN);
; vote number 2007-226
on Jun 21, 2007
Status: Bill passed Bill passed, 65-27
Voted YES on making oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal.
Voting YES would amend the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal. It would be a violation for any foreign state:
- to limit the production or distribution of oil & natural gas;
- to set or maintain the price of oil & natural gas; or
- to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil & natural gas;
- when such collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil & natural gas in the US.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our NOPEC bill will authorize filing suit against nations that participate in a conspiracy to limit the supply, or fix the price, of oil. In addition, it will specify that the doctrines of sovereign immunity do not exempt nations that participate in oil cartels from basic antitrust law.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
No one likes OPEC. But this amendment, in my opinion, would make bad law.
The Framers of the Constitution wisely assigned responsibility for formulating foreign policy and conducting foreign relations to the President and to the Congress, not to the law courts.
The amendment before us has its roots in a lawsuit filed by the labor union nearly 30 years ago. The union at that time charged OPEC with price fixing in violation of our antitrust laws. The trial court dismissed the case on the ground that OPEC members are sovereign nations and are immune from suit. Adopting the amendment will undoubtedly be very popular, but it is also very unwise.
In addition, we here in the Senate ought to consider how enactment of this amendment might affect our relations with OPEC members. What will be the international repercussions when the US starts awarding judgments against foreign nations and attaching their assets in this country? Will other nations start to view our trade policies--such as our nuclear trade restrictions--as violations of their antitrust laws?
Reference: NOPEC Amendment to CLEAN Energy Act;
Bill S.Amdt.1519 to H.R.6
; vote number 2007-215
on Jun 19, 2007
Voted YES on factoring global warming into federal project planning.
Amendment would require the consideration of global climate change, in planning, feasibility studies, & general reevaluation reports. Would require accounting for the costs & benefits from the impacts of global climate change on flood, storm, and drought risks; potential future impacts of global climate change-related weather events, such as increased hurricane activity, intensity, storm surge, sea level rise, and associated flooding; & employs nonstructural approaches and design modifications to avoid or prevent impacts to streams, wetlands, and floodplains that provide natural flood and storm buffers.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
It just seems logical that we ask the Corps of Engineers to include in their analyses, judgments about the potential impact of global climate change. All this amendment seeks to do, as a matter of common sense, is to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to factor climate change into their future plans. Secondly, we are making a
statement here to finally recognize the reality of what is happening with respect to climate change.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The same people today who are saying we are all going to die from global warming, just back in the middle 1970s were saying another ice age is coming and we are all going to die. Which way do you want it?
If a surge of anthropogenic gases--this CO2, methane, or whatever it is--were causing a warming period, then around 1945 we would have a warming period because in the middle 1940s we had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases. But what happened? It did not precipitate a warming period.
Peer reviewed evidence shows that the sun has actually been driving the temperature change. You don't have to be a scientist to know that the Sun can have something to do with climate change.
Implementing Kyoto would reduce the average annual household income nearly $2,700, at a time when the cost of all goods would rise sharply.
Reference: Kerry Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.1094 to H.R.1495
; vote number 2007-166
on May 15, 2007
Voted YES on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR.
To remove the establishment of an oil and gas leasing program in the Alaskan Coastal Plain. The original bill allows for an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Voteing YES on this amendment would remove that section, hence barring leasing in ANWR.
Reference: Bar Oil and Gas Leasing amendment;
Bill S Amdt 2358 to S 1932
; vote number 2005-288
on Nov 3, 2005
Voted NO on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas.
To provide for appropriations for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Vote on a motion to waive the Budget Act in order to adopt an amendment that appropriates federal funds for the LIHEAP program. A 3/5th vote is required to amand a budget bi
Reference: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program appropriation;
Bill S.AMDT.2033 to HR 2863
; vote number 2005-250
on Oct 5, 2005
Voted NO on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%).
Amendment to improve the energy security of the United States and reduce United States dependence on foreign oil imports by 40% by 2025. The amendment seeks to reduce usage by 7.6 million barrels of oil a day, out of a total usage of 20 million barrels of oil a day. The bill without amendment seeks to reduce usage by 1 million barrels of oil a day. Opponents of the amendment said, "It would be disruptive of jobs if you set a 78 mile per gallon CAFÉ standard for cars, a 185-percent increase; a 60 mile per gallon standard for trucks, light trucks, a 174-percent increase. [The unamended version] is more in keeping with President Kennedy's "man on the Moon" goal. [The amended version] is a "man or woman on Mars" goal, and maybe we will get there one day, but it is unrealistic today."
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2005;
Bill S.Amdt. 784 to H.R. 6
; vote number 2005-140
on Jun 16, 2005
Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Vote to adopt an amendment that would strike a provision in the concurrent resolution that recognizes revenue from oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The amendment says: "To ensure that legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, other federal lands, and the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling receives full consideration and debate in the Senate under regular order, rather than being fast-tracked under reconciliation procedures; to ensure that receipts from such drilling destined for the federal treasury are fairly shared with local jurisdictions; and does not occur unless prohibitions against the export of Alaskan oil are enacted."
Reference: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge anti-drilling Amendment;
Bill S AMDT 168 to S.Con.Res. 18
; vote number 2005-52
on Mar 16, 2005
Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy.
Vote to pass a bill would overhaul the nation's energy policies, reorganize the electricity system and make available approximately $15 billion in energy-related tax incentives. It also would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish a new CAFE standard within 15 months to two years. It would support the use of alternative energy and call for utilities to increase their dependence on renewable fuels.
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2003;
Bill HR 6
; vote number 2003-317
on Jul 31, 2003
Voted YES on targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010.
Dorgan Amdt. No. 865; To require that the hydrogen commercialization plan of the Department of Energy include a description of activities to support certain hydrogen technology deployment goals. Part of S 14 Energy Omnibus bill; this vote would pass an amendment that would call for the Department of Energy to set targets and timelines to maintain the production of 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010, and 2.5 million vehicles annually by 2020. It also would call for the department to set targets for the sale of hydrogen at fueling stations. The bill would require the Energy secretary to submit a yearly progress report to Congress.
; vote number 2003-212
on Jun 10, 2003
Voted YES on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill.
Boxer Amdt. No. 272.; To prevent consideration of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in a fast-track budget reconciliation bill. S Con Res 23 Budget resolution FY2004: Vote to pass an amendment that would strike (remove) language in the resolution that would permit oil drilling and exploration in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. [Voting No favors drilling for oil in ANWR].
Bill SConRes 23
; vote number 2003-59
on Mar 19, 2003
Voted NO on drilling ANWR on national security grounds.
Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Murkowski Amendment No. 31323; To create jobs for Americans, to reduce dependence on foreign sources of crude oil and energy, to strengthen the economic self determination of the Inupiat Eskimos and to promote national security. Would allow gas and oil development in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if the president certifies to Congress that production in the area is in the nation's security and economic interests (qwhich Prsident Bush would). If the cloture motion is agreed to, debate will be limited and a vote will occur. If the cloture motion is rejected debate could continue indefinitely and instead the bill is usually set aside. A yea vote for this bill was one in favor of drilling in the reserve. Three-fifths of the total Senate (60) is required to invoke cloture.
; vote number 2002-71
on Apr 18, 2002
Voted NO on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months.
Levin Amendment No. 2997; To provide alternative provisions to better encourage increased use of alternative fueled and hybrid vehicles. Vote to pass an amendment that would remove the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard (CAFE) and instead establish a new automobile efficiency standard in 15 months. Congress could veto any CAFE increase and would be allowed to increase the standard if no changes are made with 15 months. The bill would overhaul the nation's energy policies by restructuring the electricity system and providing for $16 billion in energy-related tax incentives.
; vote number 2002-47
on Mar 13, 2002
Voted YES on preserving budget for ANWR oil drilling.
Vote to preserve language in the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Framework that assumes $1.2 billion in revenue from oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] in Alaska.
Bill S Con Res 101
; vote number 2000-58
on Apr 6, 2000
Voted YES on ending discussion of CAFE fuel efficiency standards.
Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Bryan (D-NV) introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate towards ending CAFE Standards. Senator Gorton motioned to table this amendment. [A YES vote is considered pro-business].
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)40; N)55; NV)4
Reference: Gorton Amdt # 1677;
Bill H.R. 2084
; vote number 1999-275
on Sep 15, 1999
Voted NO on defunding renewable and solar energy.
In June of 1999, Senator Jeffords (R-VT) was prepared to offer an amendment which would have added $62 million to the Energy Department solar and renewable energy programs. This action was blocked by Senator Reid (D-NV).
Status: Motion Agreed to Y)60; N)39; NV)1
Reference: Motion to table the recommital;
Bill S. 1186
; vote number 1999-171
on Jun 16, 1999
Voted YES on approving a nuclear waste repository.
Approval of the interim nuclear waste repository. The repository would be located at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, with an integrated management system for storage and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Voting YES would authorize the President with sole and unreviewable discretion to determine the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site.
Status: Bill Passed Y)65; N)34; NV)1
Reference: Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1997;
Bill S. 104
; vote number 1997-42
on Apr 15, 1997
Keep efficient air conditioner rule to conserve energy.
Smith signed a letter from 53 Senators to the President
Mr. President: A recent federal court decision regarding energy efficient air conditioners is a significant victory for consumers, for the environment, and for our nation's energy future. We respectfully request that you do not appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District (Natural Resources Defense Council et al v. Abraham, Docket 01-4102) affirmed that central air conditioners sold beginning in 2006 must be at least 30% more energy efficient than those available today.
Air conditioners are a necessary modern convenience but are also major users of electricity. On hot days, cooling homes and businesses is the largest category of electricity demand. Requiring air conditioners to be as energy efficient as possible will begin to reduce the stress on the electricity generation and transmission network and decrease the likelihood of blackouts that many regions of the country experience during warm weather conditions.
Air conditioners that meet the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating 13 standard will provide benefits for consumers, the environment, and the nation. The SEER 13 standard will alleviate the need for additional electricity production and transmission resulting in as many as 48 fewer power plants required by 2020. This standard will also result in less harmful air pollution being emitted into the atmosphere. Moreover, by 2020 power plant emissions of carbon dioxide will be 2.5 million tons lower as a result, and emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides will also be held down resulting in cleaner air and healthier citizens.
Finally, the higher standard can be expected to save businesses and residential consumers $1 billion per year in lower electricity bills. Lower electricity bills will recover the slightly higher purchase cost for the more efficient air conditioners in less than 18 months.
Source: Letter from 53 Senators to the President 04-SEN2 on Mar 19, 2004
Sponsored bill raising CAFE by a 4% per year until 2018.
Smith introduced raising CAFE by a 4% per year until 2018
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to increase fuel economy standards for automobiles.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: At a time when the energy and security stakes couldn't be higher, CAFE standards have been stagnant. In fact, because of a long-standing deadlock in Washington, CAFE standards that initially increased so quickly have remained stagnant for the last 20 years.
Since 1985, efforts to raise the CAFE standard have been stymied by opponents who have argued that Congress does not possess the expertise to set specific benchmarks.
To attempt to break this two-decade-long deadlock and start the US on the path towards energy independence, we introduce the Fuel Economy Reform Act of 2006. This bill would set a new course by establishing regular, continual, and incremental progress in miles per gallon, targeting 4% annually, but preserving NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) expertise and flexibility on how to
meet those targets.
Under this system, if the 4% annualized improvement occurs over ten years, this bill would save 20 billion gallons of gasoline per year. If gasoline is just $2.50 per gallon, consumers will save $50 billion at the pump in 2018. By 2018, we would be cutting global warming pollution by 220 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
In order to enable domestic manufacturers to develop advanced-technology vehicles, this legislation provides tax incentives to retool parts and assembly plants. This will strengthen the US auto industry by allowing it to compete with foreign hybrid and other fuel efficient vehicles. It is our expectation that NHTSA will use its enhanced authority to bring greater market-based flexibility into CAFE compliance by allowing the banking and trading of credits among all vehicle types and between manufacturers.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Finance; never came to a vote.
Source: Fuel Economy Reform Act (S.3694) 06-S3694 on Jul 19, 2006
Rated 50% by CAF, indicating a mixed record on energy independence.
Smith scores 50% by CAF on energy issues
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CAF scores as follows:
About the CAF (from their website, www.ourfuture.org):
- 0% - 30%: opposition of energy independence (approx. 206 members)
- 30% - 70%: mixed record on energy independence (approx. 77 members)
- 70%-100%: support for energy independence (approx. 183 members)
The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities--against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.
About the CAF report, "Energy Independence: Record vs. Rhetoric":
Energy independence has surfaced as a defining issue in the current elections. Are most candidates and both parties truly committed? To help distinguish the demonstrated level of support for homegrown, clean energy alternatives, we examined the voting records of current U.S. Representatives and Senators on bills vital to promoting those interests. Key pieces of legislation included goals for independence, and subsidies for the development of alternatives compared to subsidies for drilling and digging. We then compared votes on these issues with campaign contributions from major oil interests. The results show strong inverse correlations between political contributions from big oil and votes for energy independence.
Source: CAF "Energy Independence" Report 06n-CAF on Dec 31, 2006
Supports immediate reductions in greenhouse gases.
Smith adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:
The Republican Main Street Partnership supports the goal of immediate, near-term reductions in greenhouse gases, and would move toward this goal by providing strong incentives that have minimal adverse impact on the economy, and to continue to apply our best scientific minds to developing a better understanding of the long-term nature of climate change and the means to cope with it.
Two objectives should be accomplished:
With regard to global warming, the Republican Main Street Partnership recognizes that a longer debate over the proper U.S. role in implementing the Kyoto Protocol should and will occur. In so doing, we hope to bolster our scientific understanding of the problem and perhaps, in turn, provide immediate incentives for communities and corporations to act in their own and the nation's best interests in reducing emissions. We are strongly committed to acting on the emerging consensus for progress and constructive change, and maintaining America's ability to lead the world in the critical area of environmental protection.
Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Issue Paper: Environment 98-RMSP2 on Sep 9, 1998
- create an "early action crediting system" to provide assurances to companies that actions taken now to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will be recognized and credited in the eventual system of emissions reductions standards that will be developed; and
- commit the necessary resources to national and international scientific efforts to better understand the cause and effect of global climate change.
Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009