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Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act

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Location: Washington, DC


COMPREHENSIVE AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 16, 2008)

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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman, both for yielding the time, but more importantly I thank the chairman for his leadership on putting together a bill that really, I think, speaks to a number of issues that we all care about.

It's no surprise we're less than 50 days before an election that the rhetoric out here on the House floor may get a little hotter than usual, and on an issue as important as this, I think that's unfortunate.

I think if we can, for just a few moments, maybe set that aside and really take a look at what this bill is and talk about what's in the bill, I think that would be productive, because, you know, this bill actually takes ideas and clauses and sections from a lot of different bills that have been introduced by a lot of Members of Congress. There have been all kinds of energy bills introduced by Republicans, by Democrats. This particular bill we're talking about tonight incorporates a lot of those ideas, and that's a good thing, and it reflects a cross-section of the House of Representatives in terms of point of view.

If we take a look at this bill, you will see that there are Democrats and Republicans who could actually come together and agree on a lot of these things. I suspect with the election coming up we may have more of a partisan nature on this vote than we would like. At the end of the day, I think we all spent a lot of time in August meeting with our constituents. We all have had the experience of going to the pump and paying a lot more than we are used to and a lot more than we like, and we've all felt the pain of that process. We've talked to a lot of our constituents who have also felt the unease of that circumstance, and they are anxious about looking for opportunities to move beyond that.

That's what we're looking to do. I don't think my constituents think the government can wave a magic wand and solve all this. When I talk to my constituents, they know that this is a complicated issue, that it is going to take a comprehensive approach, and a lot of the solutions are going to come not necessarily from government but from the private sector, the innovators in our country. That's why this country has always done so well in global competitions through innovation.

I've met with various businesses in my own congressional district just in the last few weeks who are making remarkable progress on technological advances, and it's exciting. It's invigorating. We should be optimistic about the future when you see what's going on out there in the private sector right now to help new technology move forward. We shouldn't be on the blame game of who's responsible for this.

[Time: 19:45]

Our caucus leader, Mr. Emanuel, said that the oil crisis first started 35 years ago with the 1973 oil embargo. Different parties have been in power in the White House and in the Congress, and we can look back in hindsight and say there may have been a lot of decisions that should have been made but weren't, or other actions that should have happened but didn't.

The blame game is not particularly productive. What we ought to talk about doing is how do we move forward as a country? How do we set public privacy that allows the private sector to innovate? How do we make progress with new technology? How do we take ourselves to a new position where we are no longer dependent on foreign energy? That's the type of discussions I think most people around the country want us to have. That's the type of discussion we ought to be having here on the floor tonight. And I'm not hearing enough of that, quite frankly, from both sides of the aisle.

This bill does increase production. It opens up substantial amounts of the offshore resource for exploration. The bill also includes oil shale production. A lot of people on the other side of the aisle said it does not, but it does. It eliminates the moratorium. It gives the States the ability to opt in to do that. It is a huge potential resource.

It includes the important tax credit extensions that so many people in this body on both sides of the aisle support. Oh, I know there are things in this bill that probably every Member of Congress could come up with something they don't like. I'm sure every Member of Congress could come up with things they would like to see in this bill that are not in it tonight. When you try to put together a consensus bill, that's the nature of the process.

But this is an important step. It's a step that allows us to say we are moving ahead with domestic production, we're moving ahead on accruing new technology, we're moving ahead on trying to reduce our dependence on foreign supply.

Again, I commend the chairman for his leadership. I ask everyone to support this bill.

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