AMERICAN ENERGY ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 09, 2008)
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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Latta, for yielding.
I appreciate this opportunity to come and speak today on this issue that is so drastically important to the American people. Everybody, rich and poor, black and white, all races, all nationalities, everybody in America is suffering from the high cost of energy.
When we voted on the morning of August 1 to go home for a 5-week break, that afternoon I was part of the group of Republicans here on the floor demanding, demanding that we go back in session to find some commonsense solutions to the high cost of gasoline at everybody's gas pump. Everybody in this Nation, even if you don't have a car, if you drive a bicycle or a motorcycle or a scooter, is suffering from the consequences of the high cost of energy. When you go to the grocery store and try to buy bread, milk, eggs, bacon, the cost of those goods in your grocery store are going to continue to go up because of the high cost of energy.
We hear from the controlling party, the Democrats, from Speaker Pelosi--now, there are some on the other side that would like to have a vote, that would like to see the energy costs come down. Many of our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle would vote for a comprehensive energy plan that would literally lower the cost of gasoline, would lower the cost of heating oil, would lower the cost of all energy sources here in America. But they can't have that opportunity to vote on a comprehensive plan. We can't have an opportunity to vote on a comprehensive plan. Why is that so? Frankly, if the American Energy Act would come to this floor for a vote, I think it would pass overwhelmingly. But Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, the majority leader, won't let that act come here, to have an up-and-down vote, to have an open discussion, a frank debate about all the issues within that act.
Now, what does the act do? The act taps into our own American energy sources, taps into our own energy sources. Doing so is absolutely critical. We have to stop this dependence upon Middle Eastern oil. We are funding governments who hate America, who want to destroy us, and they are in turn funding al Qaeda, the insurgency in Iraq, the insurgency in Afghanistan. They're funding people who are in our country today who want to attack the very fiber of our Nation. We have to stop that dependency upon foreign oil, whether it's Middle Eastern oil, Venezuelan oil, North African oil, or anywhere else. We have to tap into our own natural resources. America is the only nation in the world, the only nation in the world, that won't develop its own natural resources.
I became a political activist coming to Washington. I was practicing medicine in rural South Georgia, coming here to this Nation's capital to lobby as a volunteer about hunters' rights and gun owners' rights and conservation issues. I'm a scientist. I'm a medical doctor. And I believe that all of our policy ought to be based on science. Not on emotionalism, not on what the name of something is, but on science. And I believe very strongly that we have to be good stewards of God's creation. We're charged biblically to do so. We have to be good stewards of our environment. And I'm a conservationist, a very ardent conservationist. We can tap into our own natural resources. We can develop those God-given resources, what we call fossil fuel, air through wind as it moves around our country, through the sun, through solar resources. We can tap into those resources. But we are denied a vote on an act that would do everything. We call it the ``all-of-the-above plan.''
We hear our colleagues on the Democratic side, the controlling party, say, well, let the oil companies drill. They already have leases. They can't drill. Why is that? My friends, my colleagues, American people, oil companies can't drill because of endless lawsuits by the radical environmentalists. Any bill that's presented has to include some mechanism to stop the endless lawsuits by these radical environmentalists that don't want any drilling. They don't want us to develop any of our natural resources. They don't want us to do anything. I think they want us to live in a cave or in a tree. Come to think of it, they don't want us to live in the trees because they think that destroying the forests would be adverse to their philosophy. So I think they want us to live in a cave. I guess we'd have to go and pick up sticks to make a fire and cook our food. A lot of them don't want us to even go out and harvest some of the bountiful animals that we have in those forests that I enjoy eating as a hunter and as a fisherman. But the leadership of the Democratic Party is listening to those radical environmentalists, and they closed down this Congress on August 1 at 11:23 in the morning when many of us wanted to just come to this floor, as is our right, as is our privilege, to talk about energy.
That afternoon I was here as part of that group, as I have already mentioned, demanding the ability to bring
the American Energy Act to the floor for an up-and-down vote, to have a debate, an open debate, with amendments, to allow everybody to put their two cents worth in, to talk about their philosophy, to offer their suggestions, to find some commonsense solutions to our energy dependence on foreign sources.
It's a national security issue for us to be dependent upon those nations who want to destroy America. It's an economic issue because our dependency upon them makes us subservient to them.
The high cost of energy is raising the cost of health care in my business. It's raising the cost of groceries in the grocery store. It's raising the cost of every single good and service in this Nation.
I as well as many others came during the August break to this floor to try to do the people's work, to demand a vote on a commonsense solution to this energy crisis we have in America. Right now today America is drilling for ice on Mars; yet we cannot drill for oil in America. It's insane. We have to change that. We have to tap into our oil and gas resources offshore and in ANWR.
I have already mentioned that I hunt. I have been on the North Slope of the Brooks Range. I've been out flying over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR. I've seen the caribou herds that we keep hearing about from the Democratic majority that would be harmed. That's hogwash. They didn't want the pipeline. I have flown over the pipeline. I've camped out by the pipeline. I've seen the caribou herds in Alaska blossom and reproduce and get more numerous because of the pipeline. I've seen pictures of grizzly bear walking down the pipeline. It's actually helped the wildlife.
We have the technology today where we can tap into those oil resources in ANWR, offshore, all over this Nation, and can do it in an environmentally responsible way, as we must, as I want to see happen, as a lot of my Democratic colleagues would like to see happen. But we cannot get a vote.
I have got a picture here. One of the Democratic folks told us the Democrats' energy plan was to ``drive small cars and wait for the wind.'' I don't think most of us want to drive around in small cars waiting for the wind. We don't have to. We can lower the cost of gasoline. We have to tap into our own natural resources to be able to do so. We can stop our dependence on Middle Eastern oil by voting into law the American energy plan. We can make America secure by voting for the American energy plan.
Whom is Ms. Pelosi listening to? She's from San Francisco. She thinks those radical environmentalists out there are normal people.
But the American people know different. The American people know and want an energy plan that makes sense to lower their cost of gas at the pumps. But we need more than that. It's September. People are starting to buy their home heating oil. Poor people, retirees on fixed incomes are going to have to pay a lot more money for their home heating oil. Many are not going to be able to afford to buy their supplies for the winter. The people that we hear from the Democratic majority that they want to represent the most, the poor people and the elderly of this Nation, are going to be radically affected and harmed because Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer, the Democratic leadership, will not allow a vote on the American Energy Act.
I represent the 10th Congressional District in Georgia, northeast Georgia. One of the cities in my district is Athens, where the University of Georgia is. I'm a proud Bulldog. Go Dawgs. Our head football coach, Mark Richt, has a three-word phrase he uses to energize the football team: ``Finish the drill.'' As a congressman, I have got a three-word phrase to energize America: ``Start the drill.'' We have to start the drill. We have to tap into our own natural resources and develop America's resources. We have to develop alternative sources of energy. That's absolutely critical because we have a dwindling supply of oil and eventually it's going to run out. We have to develop the wind and solar energy that my Democratic friends just keep talking about. T. Boone Pickens says that's half the answer. That's hogwash also. It's only a small part of the answer. It's less than 10 percent. But we have to develop wind and solar. The American Energy Act does that.
Just south of my district, just south of Augusta, Georgia, the Georgia Power Company is trying to put in two nuclear reactors, and they have been doing that for decades. But because of the radical environmentalists and governmental regulations and endless lawsuits, they can't build the two nuclear reactors to add to the two that are already there. We have the technology to make nuclear energy safe. Nuclear energy is the only thing that makes environmental sense and economic sense to develop electric energy in this Nation. We have to develop nuclear energy.
We have to develop hydrogen. We have to develop new batteries. We have to conserve. And I am a conservationist. Conservation has to be a part of the answer. We have to do it all. Well, guess what, American public? The Republican's American energy act does all of that. We must have a vote.
So, Republicans, on the afternoon that we were forced to go home on this 5-week break, Republicans have been coming here every single day since that day, since August 1, to try to get our Democratic colleagues to come back here and do America's work, the American peoples' work, to vote on a comprehensive energy act bill that would do all of the above: Would tap into America's bountiful natural resources, that would develop nuclear energy, would develop alternative sources of energy, would develop conservation issues, would stimulate the innovativeness of the American public to develop new sources of energy. There may be a source of energy we have never dreamed of.
We have to do all of those things. The American energy act will do just that. We can't have the Democratic energy plan of driving small cars and waiting for the wind. We have got to lower the cost of gas at the pump. We have got to lower the cost of home heating oil.
Republicans are here fighting for the poor people. We are here fighting for the elderly on limited incomes. The Democratic leadership are just doing what my son calls ``dissing'' them. The leader on the Democratic side, Speaker Pelosi is dissing poor people, dissing the elderly, those who are hurt most by us not having the vote.
So I come here tonight with my colleagues, and I applaud Mr. Latta and Mr. Burton and Mr. Barton and Judge Carter for coming here tonight to bring forth to the American people the idea that Republicans are here for the American people. We are here trying to find those solutions. We have been here through the whole August break, inviting our Democratic colleagues to come back and do the peoples' work, the poor peoples' work, the elderly's work, everybody's work, to lower the cost of energy.
And so I just call upon my Democratic colleagues, particularly those many over here on the Democratic side who would like to have a vote, please ask your leadership to bring the American energy act to the floor for a vote with an open rule so that we can have all the amendments that you want to put in, all the amendments that our folks want to put in, have an open debate, but let's do the American peoples' job in the peoples' House. Let's do the peoples' work to find some solutions to this energy crisis that is an economic crisis and a national security crisis for America. So I call upon my Democratic colleagues to get your leadership to allow us to have a vote on the American energy act.
I thank Mr. Latta for the opportunity to come here and discuss this, and I applaud your efforts, I applaud my other colleagues' efforts, and I thank you for this opportunity. Maybe the American people will listen.
When I was here in the dimly lit House with no microphones, no cameras--different from tonight--and we had the tourists sitting here on the floor of the House, I asked them to go home and not just enjoy being in this historic moment sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives but to go home to contact their Member of Congress and demand a vote on the American energy act.
Former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen one time said, when he feels the heat, he sees the light. What he was saying is when his constituents in his State start contacting him through calls and letters, that he would start feeling the heat. We need the American public all over this country to start putting heat on their U.S. Senators and their Members of the U.S. House by calling, writing, e-mailing, visiting district offices, visiting Washington offices, and demanding a vote on a comprehensive energy package that would lower their costs of energy, whether it's gasoline, home heating oil, electricity. That is what the American energy plan is all about, is to lower our energy costs.
So I applaud your efforts tonight, sir, my friend, and dear colleague, and I ask the American public to get busy to apply the heat to your Member of Congress. Write them, call them, e-mail them, and demand a vote on the American energy act so we can have an up-or-down vote, open debate to lower your cost of energy, lower your cost of gasoline, lower your cost of groceries, lower your cost of health care, lower your cost of every good and service that you have to buy to make America secure. Energy secure.
I thank you, sir, for your leadership. I applaud you, and I thank you for this opportunity to come back today.
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