Participants: House Minority Leader John Boehner; Rep. Eric Cantor; Rep. Mike Pence; Rep. Cathy Mcmorris Rodgers; Rep. Shelley Moore Capito
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REP. BOEHNER: Good morning everyone.
This week we honor the legacy of our good friend and former colleague, Jack Kemp. Jack was one of those people in our party who believed that it was important that we reach out to all Americans to talk to them about our message of hope and empowerment for everyone. Jack was a real stalwart in our party and someone we'll really miss. Jack also believed that when we had to object to the policies put forward by the left, we had an obligation as a party to come forward with what we thought was a better solution. And in the course of this year we've had better solutions on the stimulus bill, a better solution, in our opinion, on the housing bill, a better solution on the budget, and we're going to continue to work on better solutions than what we see out of the Democrats on Capitol Hill.
This morning, Mike Pence and the American Energy Solutions Group will be having a summit to talk about how we get to more energy in America. It wasn't that long ago when gas was $4 a gallon, and if the economy heats up we are going to be right back there again. And we believe instead of having the national energy tax that will tax all Americans, the best way to get to a cleaner environment, cleaner energy and lower prices is to do our 'all of the above' energy strategy. That said, we need to support renewable energy to get cleaner energy. We need to support nuclear energy, which is probably the cleanest of all. But in addition to that we need to have more domestic oil and gas production so we can become more energy independent. We are going to hear more about that later on this morning at the energy summit.
With that let me turn it over to Eric.
REP. CANTOR: Thank you, Leader. Good morning.
The question presented today when Chairman Pence hosts the energy forum here in Washington is: how many Americans right now are having difficulty paying their bills? How many folks are out of a job and can't seem to figure out how it is that they are going to make their mortgage payment this month? And the notion that somehow Congress is going to now be imposing on an average family of four, some estimates say more than $3,100 a year, or some will say $1,800 a year, how is that helping American families in these tough economic times?
Chairman Pence's energy forum today will begin to discuss these issues and the impact that what is going on in Washington is having on the people of this country. Republicans have launched a new effort, the National Council for a New America, to bring in as many folks as possible into this debate. We need a wide open policy discussion with people. Mike Pence and his energy forum today will be about that. How is it that we can have such a disconnect between what is going on here in Washington and the reality on the ground across this country? This is part of a series of efforts for Republicans to go out and meet with people in this country, and bring them into this debate so that we just don't have special interest driving what comes out of Washington.
REP. MCMORRIS RODGERS: Good morning, everyone.
I too am excited about the energy summit today because we need to start saying 'yes' to American energy and start saying 'no' to these policies that are only going to penalize America; policies that will penalize American energy producers and American families. Our future depends upon a bold and innovative energy plan and whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, we all recognize that our economy depends upon it. We saw last summer - last August - what $4 per gallon gas would do to our economy and our national security depends upon it.
I come from one of the greenest Congressional districts in the country. We have clean hydro, we have nuclear, we have wind, we have solar, we have the biomass, the smart grid, the smart meters, but I'm here to tell that we're also very concerned about a policy that would actually penalize all of those types of energy production and that we would be forced to pay higher costs for our energy. America has always been this great land of ingenuity, of innovation, and we have seen that in our energy ideas throughout the years, so we really need to unleash American energy producers and not implement policies that are actually going to hurt our economy and actually trade our jobs and cause them to go overseas. Come to our summit and hear about our solutions for American energy.
REP. CAPITO: Hi, I'm Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, representing the energy state of West Virginia. I look forward to the energy summit today, as well. I think we're learning, as time has moved on, that the cap and trade policies, as Congressman Dingell called it, is a 'national energy tax' that is going to cost a lot of families, manufacturers and certain parts of the country, a tremendous amount of money on their bottom line. Eric mentioned that people are having trouble making those bottom lines and I'm not certain that the American public is learning, as we move through this process, how much this could actually cost them.
Being from the state of West Virginia, we are large producers of coal. I am certainly interested in an 'all of the above' policy, one that includes clean coal, carbon sequestration, carbon capture, for a common sense energy plan. Not only because it makes sense but because it preserves jobs, because it preserves manufacturing jobs in this country and because it is the way for us to use the best technology to transition us into the cleaner, greener environmental energy economy of the very far future. So today, I think that I would join with my colleagues to say that we need to look at all issues surrounding energy. We need to look at all forms of domestic energy and we need to make sure that we're protecting not only that single mom with kids who is trying to make ends meet, the elderly folks who are trying to make ends meet, but also the jobs connected with every form of energy produced here in the United States. Thanks.
REP. PENCE: During these difficult economic times, in the name of combating global warming, House Democrats are prepared to bring forward legislation that would raise the energy costs of every American household by more than $3,000 a year. Today, in an Energy Summit organized by Leader Boehner's American Energy Solutions Group, we are going to tell the American people what this so-called "cap and trade" legislation will cost them, and their families, and their businesses. It amounts to nothing short of a national energy tax. Even the President, as a candidate more than a year ago, said that if the cap and trade legislation was passed utility rates, his words now, "would necessarily skyrocket." The President went on to say that he was certain that those costs would be "passed along to consumers."
Despite the fact the Waxman-Markey bill still lacks the numbers, even up to this hour, about what the real cost estimates are to the American people, today the American Energy Solutions Group is going to bring together some of the best and brightest minds in American business to raise the curtain on the real costs of the cap and tax legislation. We will also focus, not only on the impact on households, but the particular burden that this legislation will place on states that are most dependent on coal burning plants for most of their electricity. As I said before, rightly understood, this legislation represents an economic declaration of war on the Midwest by liberals on Capitol Hill and it must be opposed.
But today is just the beginning of the work of the American Energy Solutions Group. Today we will be raising the curtain and explaining to the American people the wrongness of the approach that Democrats are taking. We will be headed on the road, working together with our leadership, together with the newly minted National Council for a New America, and will be traveling to Pennsylvania, and Indiana, and to California, to lay out a competing vision for an energy future in America that is built on the principles of free market, on conservation, on new alternatives, on more domestic reserves and exploration, and on nuclear energy. But that is all to come. Today we expose what is wrong with their ideas, but soon on the road across America we will begin to unveil a Republican vision for energy independence.