February 5, 2006

Senator Chafee on 10 News Conference: Segment 3

Carroll Andrew Morse

Here is a brief summary of Senator Lincoln Chafee’s February 5 appearance on the WJAR-TV (Channel 10) public affairs program 10 News Conference (Sundays, 6:30 am)…

Jim Taricani asks about the “addicted to oil” line in the President‘s State of the Union. Something similar is mentioned every year. Does Congress have the political will to really do something this time?
Senator Lincoln Chafee thinks there was more emphasis and more priority this year. The first step is raising the milage standards on cars, but the standards are voted down in Congress each year. The administration doesn't support raising mileage standards.

Bill Rappleye asks if the rhetoric matches reality.
Chafee answers that it may be changing.

Taricani asks if there will be real change on mileage standards.
Chafee: “Time will tell.”

Taricani asks what specifically has the Senator done on energy policy.
Chafee answers that he has sponsored legislation that would help reduce oil consumption, mentions ethanol.

Rappleye asks if the Senator’s antagonism of the White House makes it difficult for him to get his bills through.
Chafee replies that it’s a misconception that he doesn’t get along with the Republicans in the White House or Congress. The highway bill and the base closing commission show how well he works with other Republicans. During the time of the Alito Confirmation, other Republicans were asking what they could do to help him in RI, specifically mentions John McCain in this context.

Taricani asks about contact with administration during the Alito hearing. Did they give a wink that it was OK to vote against Alito?
Chafee: No. The administration wanted 100% Repubican support, especially to avoid the "bipartisan opposition to Judge Alito" meme.

Rappleye asks about the pressure brought to bear.
Chafee answers that they were concerned about potential impact on the primary.

Rappleye asked who specifically talked to the Senator.
Chafee answers that Elizabeth Dole and Andrew Card tried getting him in line.

Rappleye asks if the NRSC threatened to withhold funding.
Chafee: Not the NRSC, but some donors have.

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Sponsoring legislation does not equate to introducing it. Chafee’s participation in energy policy has been on the sidelines at best, and in no way has he pioneered any sort of legislation to reduce our oil dependency and make the switch to alternative fuels.

Also, it would be wise for "Mr. Environmentalism" (and many others for that matter) to do some more research on ethanol production. Ethanol is not an energy-efficient solution. It still requires more energy to produce than it saves, and it costs taxpayers $2 Bil./year in subsidies just to keep this industry afloat.

Posted by: ian at February 5, 2006 12:28 PM