The economic future of America is uncertain, and the bad news seems to be piling on. Unemployment rates are rising as hardworking Americans are losing their jobs. The fiscally irresponsible policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac implemented by Congress, with the policies of the Clinton administration, have caused some of our oldest and most revered financial institutions to teeter towards the edge of insolvency.
While all of these seem disheartening, we should take comfort in knowing that during these times of peril and difficulty, Americans band together and respond with greatness.
Twice last week I voted "NO" to a bailout bill that would give the same financial companies that created this crisis $700 billion of American taxpayer money. I strongly believe that poor decisions made in the private sector should not be bailed-out by taxpayers. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues believed we were out of time and had to act immediately. I believe that if we had taken a little extra time, we could have created an economic "workout" plan paid for by Wall Street, rather than you, the American taxpayer.
At a time when recession seems certain, American resourcefulness and ingenuity can temper the economic decline of the financial sector with new growth in the energy sector. Now, maybe more than ever, Congress needs to unleash the American Energy Act. This act will bolster American creativity by creating thousands of jobs in the energy sector. In the short term, jobs could be created through new energy exploration and production in the Outer Continental Shelf and ANWR. Jobs would also be created by the first new construction of oil refineries in the United States since the 70s.
The American Energy Act does not stop at conventional oil production. New jobs will be created through the expansion of alternative energy research and development. The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal, and this energy plan will reward companies investing in clean coal technology. New jobs will be generated by expansion of wind, solar and additional nuclear energy, all of which are great for our economy and easy on the environment.
Most importantly, the American Energy Act will decrease our reliance on foreign oil. It will no longer be necessary to export billions of dollars in order to import the oil we need to meet the energy demands of our country. This is money that can be reinvested into the infrastructure of the United States and used to create new jobs and expand economic growth.
America stands at a crossroads. We can choose to accept the looming economic problems as inevitable, or we can choose to act decisively in order to make this economic crisis as short and painless to the American people as possible. I refuse to sit on the sidelines during this time of uncertainty, and I will continue to push for sound energy policies that will positively affect the current economic situation