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Public Statements

Energy And Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Congressman Gingrey, I appreciate that introduction. You know there's no way I can possibly live up to that now. But I did want to come down here and talk not about health care specifically, but about some of the things we're doing differently and uniquely with energy.

I realize there is somewhat of a connection because what Dr. Gingrey was talking about is a vision of another approach to try and solve the energy crisis. What we are talking about as Republicans is trying to give options to individuals and choices to individuals. And when it comes to energy, it is the same kind of concept. We are talking about a vision for America and a road or option that can be taken. It's not just simply one.

So I appreciate very much the concept of health care. In fact, when I leave, I expect Dr. Gingrey will come back again to that area and show once again how these are all the concepts that have to be in there.

But I did want to take just a moment, if I could, because today the Western Caucus as well as the Republican Study Committee did introduce a new bill that deals with energy. And it is, once again, with the same purpose or overall vision that Dr. Gingrey was talking about, because our goal is to say there are two competing visions of where America is ready to go. It's kind of like the Frost poem of two paths in the woods that are diverging. We have to choose which one we want to go.

The Democrats have already offered a proposal of cap-and-tax. And the Republicans are now coming up with a different proposal of trying to take the cap off our energy development so that we have the choice of which of these two paths Americans want to take.

If we go with what the Democrats are already proposing, there will be an increase in the energy costs of every individual. It can be as high as $3,000, which is a legitimate number. But the problem is it is also disproportionate. There are some parts of the country that will have a bigger hit than others. And it is worse on the poor than any other segment.

If you're rich, this is an inconvenience. If you're poor, this is a decision on whether you can celebrate with Hamburger Helper that evening or not.

The Republican option, on the other hand, the Republican road, is to try and increase and grow our energy supply so we reduce the cost because there is more available. It also recognizes that energy has always been the vehicle for those in the lower classes and poverty to raise themselves up. Their ability to increase our gross domestic product and our wealth has been based on the concept of having affordable energy.

The Democratic approach, once again, will cut jobs. The greatest estimate, most conservative estimate, is at least 3 million jobs will be taken. The Republican one is not to increase jobs, it's not to increase taxes, but rather, instead, to create increased royalties we will get from increasing production, and put that into a trust fund to attack the deficit that this country has and take the cap off of our production so that we can actually succeed as a country.

The Democrats would have us go down the approach where there is no real reward for conservation; only mandates. The Republican option that will be before that is to reward people for their efforts at personal conservation, which is what we should be doing.

The Democrat road would take us down to the approach in which government starts telling people how to live their lives. We will harken back to the era of Jimmy Carter, where the government told you how fast to drive, how warm your house could be, and when you could buy gasoline, unless you're like the one family we knew about who had two different license plates--one odd, one even--so he could buy gasoline whenever he wanted to fill up his car.

The Republican approach, though, is different. It is trying to reward innovations, giving prizes for ingenuity. What we realize in this country is there is within Americans the spark of creativity, the ingenuity, the ability to come up with new solutions. We don't need the government to pick winners and losers and tell us how we shall live. Open up the options for individuals and reward them for taking the risk to come up with those options, and we can create a better world.

There are ideas that are out there--new ideas in this particular bill which gives incentives for every kind of energy, from solar to new algae production, and some old ideas that have been around which have never been done. And they are going to be new ideas until we actually do it--and there is no better time to do it.

In fact, the Democrat approach is simply saying: We can't do it, so why try? The Republican option is saying: There is limitless opportunity in this country. We should do it, and we should simply do it now.

It's kind of like the tale of two cities: one city where the lights are off; the Republican city, where the lights can be turned on. Actually, a better one is if you remember the sequel to ``Back to Future'' where there were two options in which civilization could develop. The Republican one takes you down to where the McFly family is happy; the Democrat option takes us down to where Biff is still ruling the world.

We have a chance of making the choice between those particular options.

The bill is basically about all the energy that we can create. It says that there is, in this country, a better dream and a better vision of what the future can be. The Republicans want to take us down a better road for America's future, a better vision, by creating a bill that, once again, does three things:

It rewards Americans for efforts of conservation. We are talking about a lot of mandates, but not allowing Americans to voluntarily conserve and be rewarded for it. And for every gallon that we can conserve, it is a gallon that we don't have to try to import from a country that basically doesn't like us.

To increase significantly the amount of production we have so there is more energy, it is more affordable, it is more useable, it is more helpful, and, that it can be that type of thing that will allow those in the lower classes economically to rise above their situation right now.

And, third, reward Americans for innovation. Prizes for innovation have always been the way the world has made quantum leaps forward. When the British were trying to become the maritime power, they didn't know how to map the waters, so they offered a 20,000 pound reward for anyone who could solve the problem, and a London clock maker came up with the concept of latitude and longitude we still use today.

When Napoleon needed to have his troops fed, he offered a 14,000 franc award for the first person who could come up and solve his problem, and the result was the concept of vacuum packing that we still use today.

When Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean, he was responding to a prize offered by a newspaper.

The ability of Americans to solve our problems and come up with creativity and new ideas and new solutions far and beyond what we are thinking about today is something that has never been driven by Washington. It has been driven by giving Americans the opportunity to use their native abilities, expand the horizons, be creative, and then be rewarded for that kind of creativity.

We are talking about two potential roads: one road which leads to more control of government; one road that leads to greater innovation and acceptance, and the ability of Americans to dream new dreams and create new visions.

Dr. Gingrey was talking about that same concept in the field of health care, that what we need is to look at the two roads that we are taking, and perhaps even look at--I think the word in the vernacular in the medical community would be trying to come up with a second opinion of where we should be moving and where we should be going.

I do thank Dr. Gingrey for allowing me to intervene here, because, like I say, there is a new energy bill that has been produced. It is an energy bill that I think is positive. It is one I want Americans to deal with, because what we are trying to say is there is a better path, there is a better future for this country, and we want this out here as an option so people can understand it.

On the issue of health care, I think the good representative from Georgia will also admit there has got to be a better path and a better option that is out here, one that ennobles and empowers Americans. I think he has some great ideas on how you can steer this country down to that correct path.


Mr. BISHOP of Utah. If I could ask to interrupt for just a second with my good friend from Georgia, because I do have to leave in a moment or two, but I think you were talking about something that is very significant. There

have been over 950 bills introduced by Republicans so far this session; 59 of them have been allowed to be discussed on the floor, most of them suspensions.

It is not that we are wanting for ideas. It is we are wanting for a vehicle in which they can be debated and discussed and be presented to the American people.

I have one other analogy. I have grayer hair than you do. I am older. But when we were growing up, remember those old records you had to buy? If I wanted a song, I had to buy the entire album or the entire 8-track. We won't even go how far back that has to be. My kids, though, have these little iPods, which I still don't know how to work. But if they want a song, they don't have to buy the entire album. They can download their song on their iPod. They get to pick and choose.

Every aspect of American life now, we have been given Americans' options. The business world gives Americans options. The American Government, the Federal Government is the only place where we are still talking about one-size-fits-all mandates on people. What we need to be doing is giving Americans choices and allowing Americans to choose for themselves how they wish to live their lives. And that is the message. That is the Republican option that happens to be out there. That is the vision that we are trying to present.

And I appreciate it, as I am going to have to leave the gentleman from Georgia, especially with his expertise in the field of health care, that he recognizes this is the same solution: not telling the Americans how to live, but giving them options and allowing Americans to choose their own future. They get to buy the song they want and put it on their personal iPod.

I appreciate him for allowing me to join him here this evening as part of this hour, and I appreciate Madam Speaker's consideration and toleration in us taking this time to try and give a new vision, another road, another option for Americans. I appreciate the gentleman's time, and I return back what is left to him.


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