THE DEMOCRAT ENERGY BILL -- (House of Representatives - September 15, 2008)
Mr. CARTER. I thank you very much for recognizing me on this issue.
You know, tonight, as we gather here, a bunch of Texans have just weathered a pretty rough storm down there in our part of the world. And it brought to the forefront something that Americans have already experienced in Indiana, and that is, when one-fifth of the refining capacity of the United States is hit by a hurricane because it is concentrated on the gulf coast, then we're going to see gas prices and diesel prices go up.
And even though tonight there are double shifts working in every refinery--and we were blessed that those refineries were not damaged more than just slightly--to bring that production back up is just like any other factory you shut down, you have to bring it back up to get to full production. And it will take days, and maybe even weeks, to where we're back. And the market knows that, and the market fears that. Just look at what happened when one refinery burned outside of Chicago partially, that's the first jump in gas prices, if Americans will think back to when the first jump in gas prices occurred.
Now, the reason why I bring this up, not only do I think about my neighbors back home and all the pain and suffering that they're going through, and then I think about the neighbors around the country that are going to suffer as a result of this natural disaster down there with the prices, and then I think about the fact that Republicans on this House floor have been trying to get something done about refining capacity for 30 years. And for 30 years, it has been the policy of the Democrats to say ``no more refineries.''
And as the gentleman mentioned, we finally got at least an incentive package to try to get refineries to start building new refineries. And quite frankly, if you're putting together an energy plan and you're talking about just refineries, shouldn't you maybe think about putting them someplace else besides the Texas and Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coast, seeing as we know what happens there all the time when it comes to hurricanes? We should be having a plan for just the simple matter of having some gasoline and diesel produced in this country.
Now, Americans have common sense. Things don't have to be complicated for them. They look at an issue and say, are you telling me that this bill was written by the Speaker of the House and her folks with really no input from anybody? What makes them experts? And do I want them planning my life and my energy needs for the next 20 years in the back room of the Speaker's office?
Now I think the American people say no.
And I think the American people would say that this is an issue that should have some concentrated effort. Maybe they should have been here for the 5 weeks that the Republicans were here. I think the people back home were saying maybe we should have been meeting, which they seem to talk a lot about, in a bipartisan method to come up with a real all-of-the-above energy solution the Republicans started talking about 6, almost 7 weeks ago on a Friday afternoon when they shut off the lights, shut off the mics and ran off the press in this very House. But we Republicans stayed. And we talked. And we said this is a crisis. And then we've had another natural disaster which has enhanced that crisis. It's time that we wake up and realize, quit playing politics with that long distance trucker who is going to have to pay maybe $6 or $7 for diesel and not make a dime on his load. Or I had a rancher tell me that today, if you sell a calf at the auction in central Texas and you get $90 for him, $45 of that is in energy costs. It's time for us here in this Congress to wake up and instead of cramming eleventh hour pieces of legislation that look like the Fort Worth phonebook down our throats, maybe we should have that bipartisan discussion.
It's a shame that this type of legislation, and I can see it in your hand there, has come here in the last, it's 10 o'clock, in the last 20 minutes. It's time we get to work as Americans and pass a comprehensive energy plan that we all participate in.