This Week: All Americans, especially students and the needy, continue to suffer from Pelosi's dysfunctional politics; Speaker Pelosi's non-energy plan will leave America more dependent on radical dictators like Venezuela's Hugo Chávez; Congress must make its appropriations process more transparent.
Poor, Elderly, Schools, Suffer from Pelosi's Politics
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices are increasing at a rate not seen in twenty years due to high energy prices that are raising the cost of producing, processing, packaging, and shipping food. The high cost of gasoline is keeping the elderly and people who are on fixed incomes from making necessary trips to their doctors and specialists. Schools are charging more for meals, combining bus routes, and eliminating educational field trips. Higher school budgets are also forcing towns and counties to raise taxes. These developments are no longer projections; they are now American realities.
Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi isn't interested in running a Congress that benefits America. On energy, she is pushing a San Francisco agenda. Nancy Pelosi needs to recognize that her politics are ignoring the needs of America and have created a dysfunctional Congress. She is refusing to allow a vote on the American Energy Act, and she routinely denies debate or compromise on controversial issues. Speaker Pelosi has led the House of Representatives to the lowest approval rate ever (9%) with her refusal to even allow a vote to lower energy prices.
Nancy Pelosi is hurting the poor, the elderly, and students with her failed politics and she needs to correct her liberal stances or get out of the way of the people's will.
Liberals Keep America Dependent on Enemies
Nancy Pelosi and the liberal leadership wrote a 290 page non-energy bill in the middle of the night and forced it onto the House floor this week. This late-night action gave Republican members no time to review the text, and only a couple hours to debate before the bill was passed by liberal Democrats. What is known is that this legislation will raise taxes, deny revenue sharing for states, and keep America reliant on Venezuelan and Middle Eastern oil.
Today, Venezuela is a major supplier of oil to the United States and Pelosi's new bill will further our dependence on their supply. This is the same Venezuela that just expelled our ambassador, whose ambassador to Washington will soon be expelled, and whose leader is a self-proclaimed disciple of Fidel Castro.
I am constantly amazed at the dysfunctional politics that Nancy Pelosi is practicing. Even members of the Democratic Party are denouncing Pelosi's newest non-energy bill. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. urged House Democrats to oppose Pelosi's bill on the grounds that it will take revenue away from states, calling the bill "dead on arrival in the Senate."
We must end America's dependence on Venezuelan and Middle Eastern oil. The American people need strong, visionary leadership in order to become energy independent. Republicans are providing that leadership as we continue to work to pass the American Energy Act - a bill which enjoys bi-partisan support.
Congress Must Stop its Fiscal Irresponsibility
There are many 2009 appropriations bills that the House needs to approve before the end of the 110th Congress. Though it looks unlikely that all necessary legislation will be passed, I expect many earmarks to be airdropped into the appropriations bills that do come to the floor for a vote.
For my part, I have signed a pledge not to request any earmarks until we have marked reform of that process. However, not all members of Congress have sworn off earmarks. This week, I signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey that addresses this problem by requesting that any earmarks placed in end-of-year spending bills are put forth for debate on the House floor.
My preference is for no earmarks to be requested, but if other members choose to ask for earmarks, the entire process should be open, transparent, and receive a vote. Almost 3,000 earmarks worth more than $4.5 billion have already been reported out of Rep. Obey's Appropriations committee.
This is the People's House and we are spending your money. Every member of Congress should have to publicly defend how they intend to spend your hard-earned money.