Senate Rises to the Occasion

By September 19, 2013Economy

This afternoon the Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the Federal Helium Reserve.  On a vote of 97-2 the Senate passed HR.  527 as amended with S. 783. This was an important step toward reauthorizing the Federal Helium Reserve.

Helium is used by more than just party stores. It is used in cryogenics, as a shield gas for arc welding, to make rocket fuel, cool micro-processors, and in life-saving MRI scans and particle accelerators to mention only a few uses.

The reserve is scheduled to cease operations on or around October 1st. The re-authorization would allow the reserve to continue to operate and that is important because 30% of our domestic helium needs are met by the reserve. Without re-authorization of the reserve we would have a severe shortfall which would hurt manufacturers, researchers and health care providers.

Now, the Senate and House must reconcile the legislation.  Reports are that the House and Senate staff have been working on doing just that over the August recess and are close to a deal. With only 11 days until the authorization runs out there is not much time left for the Congress to act.

The NAM strongly supports reauthorizing the reserve and encourages the House and Senate to come to an agreement that satisfies refiners, non-refiners and end users.  We are on the 5 yard line with time running out. The last five yards are often the most difficult to get, but we can’t afford to not get this ball over the goal line.

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