WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today voted in favor of several amendments offered to the highway bill currently being debated in the Senate. The amendments Johanns supported dealt with the Keystone XL pipeline, offshore oil and gas production, new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, and eliminating costly government duplication. All four amendments fell short of the required 60 votes.
The Keystone amendment, of which Johanns is a cosponsor, was introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.). The amendment would use Congress’ Constitutional authority to oversee foreign commerce to approve the Keystone XL project, allowing pipeline construction to begin immediately outside of Nebraska. Nebraska would continue to have all the time it needs to complete its route selection.
Johanns also voted to support an amendment offered by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to expand offshore oil and gas production areas.
“We need an all-of-the-above energy policy,” Johanns said. “Energy independence is one of the most pressing economic and national security issues facing our country. It makes no more sense to lock up our natural resources than it does to increase our dependence on oil from unfriendly sources.”
Johanns voted for two other amendments: One offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to require EPA to rewrite impractical air quality regulations affecting manufacturers and electricity providers; another by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to eliminate government duplication and inefficiencies identified in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which could save the government tens of billions of dollars.
“This amendment would have forced EPA to rewrite the unworkable rule and base it instead on real-world, achievable goals – goals which would result in a positive environmental impact without imposing unreasonable costs on our job creators,” Johanns said.
On the Coburn amendment, Johanns said, “With our debt skyrocketing, this really is a no brainer. According to the GAO, we have 94 federal initiatives to foster green buildings in the private sector and 20 different entities to administer 160 programs dealing with housing. It just goes to show that Ronald Reagan was right again: ‘A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this Earth.’”