McCain's Crusade Against Renewable Fuels

(Thanks to Senator Harkin for posting here on this important topic. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Cross posted at Daily Kos

America’s energy independence starts here at home, with renewable fuels, wind and solar power, and other homegrown resources.

That’s why Congress enacted renewable fuel standards that mandated the amount of biofuel that must be mixed with gasoline sold in the United States to reach 7.5 billion gallons by 2012. Today, there are currently 170 ethanol biorefineries in the United States with 34 more under construction. In Iowa alone we will have 41 biorefineries once those under construction are completed.

These standards are and will continue to be vital to the growing biofuel industry, which has been so successful since the inception of the renewable fuel standard that the United States is on pace to exceed the 7.5 billion gallons mandated and achieve an ethanol capacity of over 11 billion gallons by 2012.

While most Americans believe we need to become energy independent, John McCain wants to simply “drill baby drill.” At his convention, McCain called for an end to ethanol mandates. He wants to kill the very mandates that are leading our nation towards sustainable and renewable energy and away from foreign oil dependence.

Furthermore, the GOP platform itself (written for John McCain) calls for an end to ethanol mandates.

John McCain and his GOP platform are so far out of touch, that even his Republican colleagues condemned his assault on renewable energy. According to a DTN article last week (subscription only), Senator Saxby Chambliss said he was “disappointed” in the GOP platform’s provision because he believes the United States needs to continue all forms of energy production, including ethanol.

Senator John Thune said, “It was a big mistake for the Republican Party to include [the provision to kill ethanol mandates]. It’s evidence the Republicans aren’t always right.”

And a fellow member of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and my colleague in the Senate, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa noted the inconsistencies of Senator McCain’s position.

Grassley noted that, while McCain has called for no subsidies for ethanol, he has also said he is “against shipping more money overseas” through oil purchases. “You can’t have it both ways,” Grassley said. “If you want a new industry, it is going to take some government incentives to get it started.” The oil industry started with subsidies, Grassley said, “and those subsidies are still in place.”

On this point, Senator Grassley and I agree. You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t be serious about renewable energy and then call for killing one of the pillars of our renewable energy policy.

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Restore the Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act

cross-posted on and Dailykos

The progressive blogosphere has been absolutely critical in recent months in helping Democrats keep the pressure on the Bush Administration and Republicans on a wide range of issues. I witnessed the incredible power of your efforts first hand last week when I spoke with you about the Republican filibuster of the Levin-Reed Amendment. The words of encouragement and gratitude that you expressed towards me in that post were truly overwhelming and I cannot thank you enough for your kind words.

I am writing to you today because an issue that is very dear to me is under attack and I need your help.

As many of you may know, my late brother lost his hearing at a young age and I witnessed firsthand the difficulties people with disabilities endure everyday. It was that experience that drove me to work hard to ensure civil rights protections were extended to every individual regardless of a current, past, or perceived disability through the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act seventeen years ago.

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Up All Night

(Sen. Harkin gives us the low-down from the Capitol. Leave your comments and his campaign will try to get to them as soon as possible--if you haven't noticed, they're a bit busy up there. - promoted by Chris Woods)

Earlier tonight, I stood on the floor of the Senate to show my support for our men and women in uniform by trying to bring them home.

As you know, the Senate held a rare all-night session because Republicans are filibustering our efforts to get an up or down vote on re-deploying our troops out of Iraq.

It’s that simple.

In an extraordinary display of fealty to President Bush and his failed Iraq policy, Republicans are literally refusing to allow a vote on an amendment to bring home our soldiers and reduce the U.S. involvement in Iraq.

The American people deserve to know where every Senator stands on the most important issue facing Congress. We must not allow Republicans to block an up or down vote with procedural semantics.

I wanted to make sure my colleagues knew where Iowans stand on the issue. So earlier tonight, while on the floor, I read some letters that I have received from Iowans, including Iowa soldiers and their families.

I hope that this one sleepless night in the U.S. Senate will awaken Republicans to the reality that their loyalty belongs not to the President, but to the American people.

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The Time is Now: Stand Up to Republicans on Iraq

(Please welcome Senator Tom Harkin to Bleeding Heartland. Leave him some comments and let him know that you'll help him out. - promoted by Chris Woods)

As many in the progressive blogosphere are already  aware, the Senate has been debating the National Defense Authorization Act,  which will set military policy for the coming fiscal year.  My Democratic  colleagues and I – as well as a few but growing number of Republicans – are  determined to take this opportunity to demand fairer treatment of our troops and  force President Bush to listen to the will of the American people and change  course in the war in Iraq.

Yesterday, the first amendment to the defense bill was  authored by Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.  Senator Webb’s troop-protection  amendment would have required that active-duty troops receive as much time at  home – recuperating and retraining – as they spend in combat, while giving the  president the authority to waive these requirements if additional troops are  needed in an emergency.

I was proud to co-sponsor Senator Webb’s legislation  because I felt that it was time to bring the systematic abuse of our  re-deploying troops to an end. It is simply unacceptable that our troops are  being deprived of the time that they need to recover from combat, complete  additional training, and spend precious time with their families. Senator Webb’s  bill would have gone a long way toward restoring our military’s readiness by  giving our brave and courageous service men and women an established amount of  time between deployments to protect their mental and physical well-being while  providing some stability and predictability for their families.

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