That 2005 Energy Bill and the Presidential Candidates

By August 6, 2008Energy

A flurry of reporting on the presidential candidates and their votes on energy legislation in 2005. Here’s a good summary of the disputations from U.S.

Energy week continued yesterday in the presidential race. On the Democratic side, Sen. Barack Obama asserted that Sen. John McCain’s energy policies were lifted from Vice President Dick Cheney. NBC Nightly News showed Obama saying, “When George Bush took office he had an energy policy. He turned to Dick Cheney and he told Cheney, go take care of this. So, John McCain has taken a page out of the Bush-Cheney playbook.” The AP reports Obama “told an audience in Youngstown, Ohio, that the Bush energy policy, crafted in large part by Vice President Dick Cheney, an ex-oilman, tilted to provide tax breaks and favorable treatment for Big Oil and that McCain would expand oil industry tax breaks by $4 billion.” Bloomberg News quotes Obama as saying during another stop, “Here in Ohio, you’re paying nearly $3.70 a gallon for gas — two and a half times what it cost when President Bush took office. Senator McCain not only wants oil companies to keep every dime of that money, he wants to give them more.”

The Washington Post adds that McCain, however, “noted that it was Obama, not he, who had voted for” President Bush’s “2005 energy bill, which included major subsidies for oil companies. NBC Nightly News showed McCain saying, “When the energy bill came to the floor of the Senate full of goodies and breaks for the oil companies, I voted against it. Senator Obama voted for it.”

That’s right. The NAM “key voted” the 2005 energy bill, with support for H.R. 6 being marked a vote in support of manufacturing. (Key Vote letter here.) The specific vote we highlighted was Senate passage of H.R. 6, on June 28, 2005, by a vote of 85-12. Senator Obama voted aye, the NAM’s preferred position; Senator McCain voted no.

Both Senators made floor statements on the day of passage, both which read today as…non-operational.

As far as NAM voting records go, their positions on H.R. 6 were outliers. Obama supported the NAM’s position 16 percent of the time on key votes in the 109th Congress; McCain’s support was 63 percent. (Grid here.)

UPDATE (5:07 p.m.): AP covered takes a look at the 2005 vote in this story.

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