Recent Press Releases

Thune Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Commit to Drafting Energy Legislation

Urge Leadership of Both Parties to Hold Energy Summit Following July 4

June 27, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators announced today they have committed to working together on legislation to address the nation's energy crisis. The group sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell Thursday evening asking them to convene an energy summit in order to hear from unbiased experts to assist them in moving forward in crafting the legislation. They also believe an energy summit held shortly after the July 4th holiday would benefit all members of the Senate.

"For too long Congress has let partisan politics block good energy policies," said U.S. Senator John Thune, R-South Dakota. "It is time for Congress to put these differences aside, find real solutions and put America back on a path toward energy independence. I join my colleagues in calling for an emergency energy summit, so we can begin to turn this energy crisis around."

"Our country is in serious danger because of skyrocketing energy costs. This growing crisis demands urgent action," said U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota. "No single political party can solve our energy crisis. The time for delay is over. We need to work together to face our energy challenges head on and secure a more energy-independent future."

"The rising cost of energy is the number one issue I am hearing about from Georgians, and the effect these costs are having on family budgets is very real and very urgent," said U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia. "This is a complex issue, but we cannot shy away from action. We should not play politics with such an urgent crisis; we must come together to act now. That is what Georgians want and it is what we as policymakers want."

"Today's high gas prices illustrate that our dependence on foreign sources of energy endangers both our homeland security and our economy," said U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana. "Congress must come together, move past endless partisan posturing and take action. But action must be rooted in knowledge, and far too many come to the debate listing only to interest groups that feed a political agenda. A bipartisan commitment, informed by balanced expertise, will allow Congress to move forward with commonsense energy policy that combines increased domestic production with an investment in alternative technologies."

"American families are feeling the pain of our growing energy crisis," said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. "Gas is at $4 a gallon. Now is the time to come together to create real solutions that will produce new domestic sources of energy. Our nation desperately needs to become more energy independent and this summit is a step in the right direction."

"Without a doubt, Americans are in desperate need of relief from high energy prices," said U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln D-Arkansas. "Nowhere is that felt more than in Arkansas and other rural states across the country. America's reliance on foreign oil is not a sustainable strategy. I believe our country should focus on a long-term investment strategy that includes renewable and alternative energy sources, which will pave a road to energy independence, and we must act now."

"There are no quick fixes in dealing with this issue, but there are things we can and must do," said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia. "With skyrocketing gas prices, it is absolutely critical for Congress to act now and act boldly. Holding an energy summit to hear from the experts on energy policy is a positive first-step in moving towards a bipartisan solution."

"Partisan bickering will not lower gas prices or put us on a course toward energy independence," said U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas. "We need to really sit down and talk about all the options on the table, evaluate their merits and move full speed ahead on meaningful reform."

"The energy challenges facing our country cannot be solved without bipartisan commitment and cooperation," said U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee. "I am pleased to be part of an effort to bring together the best ideas of both parties and am anxious to move our country forward with balanced legislation that makes us more secure."

"No matter their politics, all Americans are feeling increasing pain from rising energy costs and we in Congress need to start working together now to find solutions to this crisis," said U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska. "A bipartisan energy summit is a good first step on the road to move us toward more energy security and independence."

The text of the letter, signed by U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, John Thune, R-South Dakota, Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, and Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, is below.

June 26, 2008

The Honorable Harry ReidThe Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority LeaderRepublican Leader
United States SenateUnited States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell:

As you are aware, the rising cost of energy is the most pressing issue facing our constituents today. This growing crisis demands urgent action, and we are committed to coming together in a bipartisan way to develop comprehensive energy legislation.

We are writing to ask that you facilitate our bipartisan efforts by convening a one day energy summit as soon as possible after the 4th of July holiday. Our hope is to hear from the best experts on energy policy who can present an unbiased view of the most promising approaches - including both enhanced conservation and increased domestic fuel production - that can reduce gas prices, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen our economy. We believe this input will be valuable for all members of the Senate in developing a list of proposals for immediate action.

We know that developing this legislation may take us beyond our usual policy preferences, but the American people deserve our mutual commitment to act. We look forward to working with you on this critical matter, and pledge to contribute ideas and to work with you as we continue our efforts to craft meaningful legislation that can get strong bipartisan support and be enacted in the near future.

Saxby ChamblissKent Conrad
John ThuneMary Landrieu
Lindsey GrahamBlanche Lincoln
Johnny IsaksonMark Pryor
Bob CorkerBen Nelson