ENERGY INDEPENDENCE -- (House of Representatives - January 18, 2007)
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. If the gentleman would yield, I would like to refer back to something that he was saying on the alternative fuels development, draw attention to that. I know that the gentleman from Texas will agree with me, just as the gentleman from New Mexico has.
What we are doing is recapping much of what took place in the Energy Act of 2005, and in that act, the $8 billion that was set aside and designated for alternative fuels development, the reason that was done was because the Republican House leadership knew and the Senate agreed and the President agreed that beginning some alternative fuels development was very, very important. It was something that needed to be done. Great ideas needed to be brought to the table.
I think what the gentleman is saying is so very significant, and I want to highlight it because I appreciate so much the fact that you are bringing it forward, that whether you are looking at the blended fuels and ethanol and biodiesel, all of that is coming on line.
If I understood the gentleman correctly, what we have seen over the past 18 months is generation capacity of these alternative fuels, fossil-based fuels and blends. What we are seeing is hundreds of millions of gallons available at the retail level every year. This will increase every year.
We will hear more this evening from our dear colleague from Maryland about developments in other alternative energies and getting outside of the box and thinking outside of that paradigm. But I appreciate so much the gentleman highlighting the provisions that were there and shedding a little bit of sunlight on the statement that was made today over and over and over on the floor of this House, an untruth, whether they are misinformed or misdirected or misguided or whatever, that clean energy policy would start today. Then what did they do when they voted for the energy act that we passed in 2005, because we got that out of Energy and Commerce Committee on a bipartisan vote.
We took significant steps at that point in time, and, as the gentleman is seeing, results are being yielded and brought forth.
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman so very much. The gentleman from Texas, being an accountant and understanding what is at stake when you talk about changing contracts and changing rates of taxation, it is so wise to point these things out for our colleagues tonight, and we appreciate that, and also the expertise in the energy industry that our colleague from New Mexico holds.
I have dubbed this the ``hold-on-to-your-wallet Congress,' and indeed I believe it is. To the Americans who are watching us, you just better be hanging on to that wallet, because if you are not, they are coming to a pocket near you to get every single penny out of it that they can wring out of it. They are off in their 100 hours to quite a start.
As we talk about the energy bill tonight, the gentleman from New Mexico was recapping what this means and the impact this is going to have on the American people, and he is exactly right. The bill that the Democrats in the House passed today does not put one more penny toward alternative energy development or exploration or alternative fuels. It doesn't do it.
It will not make gas cheaper. Contrary to what you heard on the floor of the House today, this is not going to make gas at the pump cheaper.
It will not increase U.S. production. As a matter of fact, it is going to make it more difficult to produce fuels and gas and heating oil in the United States.
Now, the foreign gas production companies and foreign refineries probably love the action that was taken here today, because they saw House Democrats saying we don't have enough faith, we don't trust the U.S. oil industry enough; but we are going to put our attention on foreign investment and foreign oil, because indeed what they did was make us less dependent on U.S. oil and more dependent on foreign sources of oil.
The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, three publications that very seldom agree, all agreed today that the bill, H.R. 6, the Democrat bill, was not a wise move for the people of this great country.
So to the gentleman from Texas, and Madam Speaker, I will commend to you that indeed this is the hold-on-to-your-wallet Congress. As we have heard in this first 100 hours that our friends across the aisle have been in charge of this majority, we have had no regular order. We have no rules. They did go in and make a change to make it easier to raise taxes.
As I said, hold on to that wallet because they are coming for it. They actually made it easier to raise taxes on the American people.
They even want to get into committees and not record votes so that you will not know what they are doing in the Rules Committee and in some of the committees so that you can play both sides of the aisle on these issues.
In addition to the energy bill that was passed today, they also passed a bill dealing with student loans. It is not going to do one single thing to help get one student into college. They were dealing with interest rates after, after, you leave college.
They decided they wanted to rework a Medicare prescription drug plan. Well, do you know what? Over 75 percent of the seniors are satisfied with the prescription drug plan; and here they go, they are wanting to make that one more expensive.
With the 9/11 Commission, we heard from our transportation industry, from companies large and small that transport goods and merchandise that it would be a cost of billions and billions of dollars to the American public.
The minimum wage bill that brought about Tunagate, my goodness, $5 billion to $7 billion worth of added cost to the small businesses, plus our fiasco with Tunagate that was carried forth by the gentlelady from California.
So it has been an interesting 100 hours. They did pass their energy bill today; and as has been said, it is not a bill, Madam Speaker, that is going to make gas cheaper at the pump, more affordable, or make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil. It will make it more dependent on foreign oil.
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