US Sen. Markey delivers first Senate speechAP , Associated Press
Sep. 18, 2013 2:21 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey promised to push for new laws on clean energy, the nation's aging infrastructure and Internet privacy protections in his first speech before the Senate on Wednesday.
Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, also called for an end to partisan gridlock and a reversal of automatic federal budget cuts, known as the sequester.
In his speech, Markey called climate change irrefutable and said he would file a bill setting a goal that by 2025, 25 percent of the energy used in U.S. is renewable.
"This bill will create jobs as it cuts pollution," Markey said.
Markey said he would also press for a bill designed to help protect children when they are online and fix the nation's aging natural gas system with the goal of making it cleaner and more efficient.
He also said the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard this week was a reminder of the need for more stringent gun laws, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and universal background checks combined with comprehensive care for the mentally ill.
"These tragedies are not inevitable. They are preventable. This senseless carnage must end," he said.
Markey served 36 years in the House before winning a special election this year to succeed John Kerry in the Senate.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who took office after ousting Republican Scott Brown last November and is now the state's senior senator, noted that Markey was the dean of the state's congressional delegation and called him a leader on many issues, including telecommunications, energy and the environment.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, also praised Markey's speech and said the two new Massachusetts senators had astounding potential. But he also said lawmakers like Markey and Warren are being held back by Republicans in Congress.
"Bipartisanship is a thing of the past. Now all we do is gotcha legislation," said Reid.