SHAHEEN: RUSSIA MUST FOLLOW THROUGH ON COMMITMENT TO SECURE SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS

On Senate floor, Shaheen also renews call for passage of Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act

September 10, 2013

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this morning renewed her call for Russia to follow through on its commitment to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. During her remarks Shaheen announced plans to introduce an amendment to the Senate's Syria resolution that would pressure the Assad regime to take credible, concrete steps to eliminate their chemical weapons stockpile.

Shaheen also repeated her call for the Senate to act on her energy efficiency legislation that she has introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). The legislation would create 136,000 jobs while also reducing pollution and saving taxpayers money.

To watch Shaheen’s remarks click here.

Below are Shaheen’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I know what is rightfully at the forefront of all our minds this week is the debate over whether to authorize the use of force in Syria. This is a very serious matter as we all know. It raises a number of geopolitical and national security issues. The decision to undertake military action is not one to be taken lightly. I’m very aware that people are war weary, that they’re concerned about the consequences of the use of military force. Consequently, I think we should pursue every possible diplomatic solution prior to engaging in military action and I welcome the possibility of international cooperation to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. I hope Russia is being serious and that they will take real, legitimate actions to quickly follow through on what they have raised with their efforts to try and encourage Assad to give up his chemical weapons to international control.

I’m working with some of my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on an amendment to the resolution that would incorporate this new development and pressure the Syrians to ensure we see credible, concrete steps in any possible effort to place their chemical weapons under international inspection. I look forward to hearing from the President today and this evening and look forward to the debate later this week as we consider the situation in Syria. 

I do want to take a few minutes this morning to talk about legislation that was previously scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor this week. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman. I know the President has been very involved in energy issues for all of his time in public life and I do appreciate the work that he did as a member of the House, I know he’s following this debate very closely and I appreciate that, Senator Markey.

This bill is one that Senator Rob Portman and I have been working on for three year, and I appreciate that he’s come to the floor today to talk about it as well. We’ve had three years of meetings, negotiations and broad stakeholder outreach in an effort to craft the most effective piece of energy legislation with the greatest possible chance of passing both chambers of Congress and being signed into law.

Shaheen-Portman is a bipartisan effort that reflects an affordable approach to boost the use of energy efficiency technologies. It will create private-sector jobs, save businesses and consumers money, reduce pollution and make our country more energy independent. It will have a swift and measurable benefit to our economy and our environment.  We just in the past few weeks saw a study from experts at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy which found that this  legislation has the potential to create 136,000 domestic jobs by 2025 all while saving consumers billions of dollars and reducing pollution.

Efficiency is the cheapest and fastest approach to reduce our energy use.  Energy saving techniques and technologies lower costs and free up capital that allows businesses to expand and our economy to grow. Perhaps equally important, energy efficiency has emerged as an excellent example of a bipartisan and affordable opportunity to immediately grow our economy and improve energy security.

In addition to being affordable, efficiency is widely supported because its benefits aren’t confined to a certain fuel source or a particular region of the country. It is clearly one of the great policy areas where we can really come to common agreement. So it is no wonder that energy efficiency legislation, Shaheen-Portman enjoys such large and diverse support. It has received more than 250 endorsements from a wide range of businesses, environmental groups, think tanks and trade associations, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufactures to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Now, I am hopeful that the Senate will return to Shaheen-Portman when we are finished debating the serious issue of Syria. And I appreciate the commitment of our leadership on both sides of the aisle in the Senate to do this. I recognize that this will be the first time a major energy bill has reached the Senate floor since 2007.  Therefore, it only makes sense for us to have a robust energy debate that allows for amendments from both sides of the aisle to be considered. I look forward to working with my colleagues to find an agreement on the way forward. I thank my good friend, Senator Portman, for his partnership in bringing this bill to the floor, and I want to also thank the Majority and Minority Leaders, as well as Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Murkowski, for all of their support as we’ve gone through this process and hopefully we’ll bring this bill to the floor in the next couple of weeks.