As we focus on the serious challenge facing our financial system, we must not lose sight of the equally challenge of building a solid foundation for America’s economy in the long term. Today we have the opportunity to vote on a bipartisan bill, the energy improvement and extension act, which will help America, build that long-term foundation. I thank Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus for their work on this bill.

The bill we vote on today provides an opportunity for the first step to move America forward. The way we've been handling these energy incentives has been like a game of red light, green light. On again, off again, on again, off again. And while our country develops so much of the technology for wind and solar, we've been leapfrogged by other countries who have more long-term policies in place that encourage investment in these areas. You know, you can drive past hundreds of massive wind turbines along buffalo ridge in southwestern Minnesota.

My state is the third-leading producer in wind. And that's because our state on a bipartisan basis has set some standards and put those incentives in place. And on the iron range in northeastern Minnesota, a large mining company announced it will invest $15 million to build a facility to produce a renewable biofuel using a variety of sources like switch grass, corn husks and stove or wood by-products. This is about the future of energy. and when I get questions about this and how we need to move with energy, I always remind people of the first start of the computer age when we had those big computers in those big rooms, and they were inefficient. And over time we got more and more efficient, so those computers can fit in the palm of someone's hand. But to do that, we're going to have as a country, have to have that individual focus and that determination to invest and set those standards. And today is the first step.

I think our energy challenge offers similar opportunities that we had when we put a man on the moon. And so we have to ask ourselves this: will the United States be a leader in creating the clean-energy technology jobs and industries of the future? Are we just going to sit back and watch the opportunities pass us by with Japan and Europe and India leading the way?