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Press Conference With House Minority Leader John Boehner ; House Minority Whip Eric Cantor; Rep. Mike Pence; Rep. Joe Barton; Rep. Mary Fallin; Rep. Fred Upton; Rep. John Shimkus; Rep. Thaddeus Mccotter; Rep. Darrell Issa - American Energy Act

Press Conference

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Location: Washington, DC

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REP. PENCE: I'm Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana, and in addition to my duties as chairman of the House Republican Conference, I have the privilege of serving as the chairman of the American Energy Solutions Group and I'm delighted to welcome you here today at this important announcement.

I first want to commend our Republican leader, John Boehner, for his vision in establishing this working group to develop a Republican solution to the energy challenges facing our country. I'm grateful to all of my colleagues, many of whom are gathered here, for the hours of work that they have put in to bringing us to this day, and especially to my co-chairs, Congressman John Shimkus and Congressman Fred Upton, without whose efforts the American Energy Act would not have been completed for this moment.

I'd also like to acknowledge the strong leadership of the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Joe Barton, who's also with us today and will make brief remarks.

The day before the president was sworn into office, the average price of gasoline of a regular gallon of gas was $1.84. It now stands at more than $2.60 a gallon.

As gas prices and utility rates threaten to go higher still, imposing even greater economic hardship on already struggling American families, the American people are looking for American answers. Today, Republicans answer that call with the introduction of the American Energy Act.

In the midst of the worst recession and highest unemployment in decades, Democrats have answered this call by proposing a national energy tax that will lead to higher energy prices and massive job losses for the American people.

The president, frankly, said it best more than a year ago, when he said that under his cap-and-trade plan, energy rates would, quote, "necessarily skyrocket," close quote.

Various estimates suggest up to $4,300 a year in extra energy costs for the average American household and the loss of anywhere between 1.8 (million) and seven million American jobs if cap-and-trade were to become law.

In short, the Democrats' national energy tax wages economic war on America's families, businesses and family farms and it must be opposed. The American people deserve better.

Today, House Republicans are introducing the American Energy Act. It is part of an all-of-the-above strategy that offers energy independence, more jobs and a cleaner environment without imposing a national energy tax.

Our energy solution focuses on more domestic exploration for oil and natural gas, a renewed commitment to clean, emissions-free nuclear energy, investments in renewable and alternative energy technologies and the creation of incentives for conservation by individuals and businesses.

The plan we offer today is the comprehensive energy solution that this country so desperately needs and it advances our energy independence. It saves and creates millions of American jobs and it even does a better job protecting the environment, since the Pelosi cap-and-tax bill will actually drive manufacturing plants overseas to countries without our environmental safeguards.

The American people want energy independence and a cleaner environment without a national energy tax. The American Energy Act is the answer.

We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Republican conference and in the Democratic conference to advance this common- sense approach to the challenges facing our nation's energy future.

With that, it's my privilege to introduce the Republican leader, John Boehner.

REP. BOEHNER: Well, Mike, thanks.

And let me congratulate Mike, Joe Barton, John Shimkus, Fred Upton and all of the members behind me who have participated in the Solutions Group for tackling a really big problem.

Listen, I think everybody understands there are two big issues that we're trying to deal with. We're trying to deal with the issue of energy independence and the fact that we're so dependent on foreign sources of oil and that we've got to do something in order to get our dependence away from foreign sources.

You know, the price of oil has doubled over the last 90 days. In 90 days, the price of oil has gone from $35 a barrel to over $70 a barrel this morning and this is going to go higher as the economy improves, just like what happened last summer.

And so, if we're going to deal with that problem, we've got to be able to produce more energy here in America. That means more exploration for oil and gas. It means the development of renewable sources of energy and it means that we need to get serious about making nuclear energy a big part of this.

You know, the other big problem that we're dealing with is the issue of climate change and our environment and if you look at the convoluted approach that the Democrats attempt -- are attempting to make, they have this idea that they and that the government can control how much carbon dioxide goes in the atmosphere.

I just think this is lunacy. China, India, others, they have no controls like this. Matter of fact, those countries are out buying up oil and coal reserves all over the world.

So rather than to have this command-and-control from Washington, why wouldn't we encourage the development at a quicker pace of renewable sources of energy? Why wouldn't we invest in nuclear energy?

And at the end of the day, we're going to have -- we're going to do more for the environment with this all-of-the-above approach than they are with their cap-and-trade to help clean up our environment.

And so I do believe that instead of imposing a tax on energy and continuing to drive up the cost of energy, that by allowing more sources of energy to come onto the market we can bring down the prices of energy on American families and clean up our environment and that's the goal with this bill.

REP. CANTOR: Thank you, Leader.

I, too, want to congratulate Mike Pence, Joe Barton, Fred Upton and John Shimkus on the tremendous job in moving this bill forward.

I think what we are seeing today with the American Energy Act is once again Republicans offering solutions in a common-sense way to try and address the real challenges that families are facing in this country.

Of all things, I think most Americans now want to see us return to the road of growth and prosperity. An important piece of that is our energy security to ensure that we can continue back towards an era of job growth and opportunity for families.

What the American Energy Act does is it says, number one, it's important for us to diversify our reliance on domestic sources of energy and to secure our energy security through national security, but it also said it's important for us to focus on prosperity, because that's the best way for us to clean up the Earth and leave it a better place for our children.

This bill essentially says that Republicans are environmentalists, that there is a way for us to be conservative and to be green and we look forward to working with the Democrat majority in trying to make sure that we do not cut off the road to prosperity when we are seeking ways to address the issues of the environment and energy security.

Thank you.

REP. BARTON: Thank you.

Well, I want to thank Leader Boehner and Whip Cantor and Conference Chairman Pence for putting this working group together. I'm proud to be a part of it. They've talked a little bit about some of the positives in the bill they're introducing today.

I want to talk about one thing that's not in the bill, and that is the ruinous cap-and-trade or cap-and-tax provision that came out of the Energy Committee two weeks ago. That provision by itself requires the reduction in CO2 to 83 percent below the 2005 baseline. That's a number that's meaningless.

What it means is we would have a per capita CO2 emission level of 1875. That's like "Back to the Future," when everybody rode around on a horse or a donkey and you had windmills or animals to run our economy, with a few steam engines in terms of coal-power for trains and things like that. That is the amount of CO2 that the country of Nigeria emits today.

The problem is that by 2050, we are going to be a nation of 450 million productive citizens. We can't exist in a modern industrial lifestyle 40 years from now with that amount of reduction.

We had a hearing yesterday on the implementation of the allowances under the Waxman-Markey proposal.

We had a refinery from El Dorado, Arkansas, that employs 1,200 people, produces 70,000 barrels a day of gasoline and diesel. Under the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax provision, they would have to pay an additional $180 million per year for their allowances and the refinery manager said, "We're just going to shut it down."

We're going to lose those 1,200 jobs in El Dorado, and another 3,600 jobs that are directly dependent on it. That's almost 5,000 jobs that are going to be lost in southwestern Arkansas if this bill comes into effect.

We had the CEO of a major utility in the Midwest come before the committee and say, "We've looked at what it will cost us to provide power for our service territory in the -- in the state of Iowa." And he said, "In that one state, it would cost an additional $863 million and result in a increase per month per family in Iowa of over $100," just for electricity -- just for electricity.

So if you want to see our economy totally ruined, you pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill that passed the Energy Committee two weeks ago.

They call it ACES, but I call it CRAP, continued -- continue ruining America's prosperity -- that's what I call it.

This bill that we're introducing today is a pro-America, pro- solutions, pro-growth bill to keep America's prosperity growing and hopefully, we'll be able some way to get some or all of this bill up before the Congress this year and get a vote on it. If we don't, it could be -- it could be a long, hot summer and a long, cold winter.

REP. FALLIN: I am Mary Fallin from Oklahoma. And I am from an energy-producing state.

You know, we -- we need to tell the American people that they have two alternatives. They have the cap-and-tax, cap-and-trade proposal. They have the American Energy Solutions proposal. There are two alternatives. I've heard people back in my state say, "Why is there just one solution to our energy problems?" There isn't. There's another bill and it's right here.

And these people on this stage have worked very hard to put together a substantial, thoughtful plan for America for producing our energy.

It is summertime. We're already seeing rising gasoline prices for our families and for our businesses. We're seeing cost increase. We're seeing costs that are squeezing the budgets of our families and, of course, of businesses.

We know that the unemployment rate is higher than predicted, even after we pass an economic stimulus package that was supposed to help lower our unemployment rate and help sustain jobs. Jobs are still being lost across our country.

We're seeing revenues down in more than over 45 of our states in our nation. We're seeing state budgets that are struggling and we're seeing a nation, our nation, that is still dependent upon foreign energy.

I know that one of the goals of Speaker Pelosi was to reduce our dependence upon foreign energy to help us create more energy in America, but their plan, the cap-and-trade plan, actually will, I believe, increase our dependence upon foreign energy because it limits production in the United States of oil and gas, when we have billions of reserves of our resources in our country that will not be produced because of the restrictions of the cap-and-trade bill.

We have seen that our rig count -- our drilling rig count in the United States has dropped by around 53 percent in our nation because of -- of the limitations of production.

In my state, the oil and gas companies tell me, and energy- producing companies -- there are other sources of energy, wind and everything else -- tell me that they are scared to invest money right now in Oklahoma's economy and anywhere else in the nation because they don't know what Congress is going to do to the energy industry, and the cap-and-trade bill will cost jobs in America. It will hurt state revenues. It will hurt revenues that go for other resources and services and states and their budgets. It will increase our dependence upon foreign energy. It will limit production of energy in America. And we have a plan in this piece of legislation that will reduce our dependence on foreign energy, that will encourage more U.S. production of energy, of our abundant resources; will help us stop sending billions of dollars to foreign countries to fund their economies.

Let's keep that money in the U.S. It will allow us to develop our energy sources of all forms, whether it's nuclear, wind, solar, bio-diesel fuels, oil and gas, clean national energy.

We also care about the environment. We want to be good stewards of the land and the water and the air. We have clean sources of energy that can be produced in the United States, and once again, we will create jobs and we'll help our nation's economy, especially during this economic downturn and that is our goal in this legislation.

We've had many people that have been working for months to produce an energy plan that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, create revenue back into our states, and this is the plan.

REP. PENCE: Thanks, Mary.

Fred?

REP. UPTON: I'm Fred Upton from Michigan.

There's a stark contrast between the bill that passed out of committee and this bill that we're introducing today. The bill that passed out of committee is a job-killer. Look at yesterday's paper, "Cap-and-Trade System Costing" -- this is according to the GAO -- or CBO, rather -- "costs $846 billion."

When you look at the Brookings Institution, they say it could be even double that figure.

The testimony that we heard yesterday, and some of the remarks that were made, including in this paper, was that gasoline prices could go up as much as 77 cents a gallon because of this. Now, I wish my state was the national average. We're already 30 cents more. We're at $2.95 a gallon this last weekend.

We want to create jobs, not see us lose any more. My state can't afford to lose another job. Every one of my counties is in double- digit unemployment, and the state of Michigan may well be at 20 percent unemployment before the summer is out.

This is not the bill that we need to get done. Instead, we need to look at what we can do to create jobs, what we can do to keep energy costs viable for not only businesses but families as well.

I have two nuclear reactors -- two nuclear plants in my district. When those plants were built, in the '60s and '70s, 85 percent of the components came from this country. Because we've turned the switch from green to red the last 20-some years, a new plant today, 85 percent comes from some place outside of the United States.

This bill will create jobs. It'll help us, and they'll be greenhouse gas emission-free.

REP. PENCE: John.

REP. SHIMKUS: Thank you. It's great to be here.

It's good to have something in opposition to the cap-and-tax bill and this is something -- and I know many of you have been looking for that something and I'm not here on renewable fuels today. I'm not here on coal. I get to talk about nuclear power.

And that's a -- and that's a real debate here because if my colleagues were serious, they would aggressively move and encourage and incentivize nuclear power, but again, all there is is silence on the expansion of nuclear power. That's why this bill has an increase -- over two decades, a goal for 100 new nuclear power plants in this country. I mean -- and that's -- that's the real deal. And the question is, how do we -- how do we go about that?

First of all, a new power plant of that size is, talking about jobs, 1,400 to 1,800 jobs, just building it. We're building a new coal-fired power plant in my district, 1,200 laborers, bargaining unit members working, right now.

Those are -- those are real good-paying jobs and that's what you would have in this sector and then you're going to have 400 to 700 people operating these facilities.

So, if you really want to talk about job creation, we need to incentivize this and we need to send a signal. That's what the capital investors want. They want a signal that we're sincere about having an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and that nuclear power is part of that signal.

So how do we do it?

A design already certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, so you don't have to go through that process time and time again for every facility that's built.

You look at a site that's already licensed for operating nuclear power; in fact, most of the plans are going to be on existing sites, already. That should cut down the time.

You make sure that it's an operator in good standing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that's kind of, an easy thing to do and evaluate. A full and complete combined operations and construction license application, along with a bill, also lowers construction costs by suspending import tariffs and duties on import and nuclear components for five years if there is no domestic supplier because Fred is right: Why don't we have domestic suppliers? Well, we're not building them. The last one came on-line 1996, 1998. The permitting process started in the mid-'70s. By that time -- we have five times more people than France. France has built four.

You go through the list of countries -- and I have them here -- and it's Brazil one, China eight, Czech Republic two, France four, India seven, Japan seven, South Korea five. Don't tell me we can't do this. And we have to send the signal -- Romania two, Russia one, Slovakia two, Ukraine three.

So nuclear power has to be a strong part of an all-the-above energy strategy that is American energy for our safety and our security and low-cost power.

So thank you for all your work. It's good to be here.

REP. PENCE: Last comment, by our policy chairman, then we'll take questions.

REP. MCCOTTER: I'm 43. I remember growing up in Michigan, in school, and I was very scared, very scared. I was told that our way of life was going to change radically due to climate conditions. I was told we were going to face the next ice age. Bought a lot of parkas, learned to skate, trained for the Iditarod.

Things come and go, things change.

My children are now in school in Michigan. We're facing a radical change to our way of life. We are told it is because we face climate change/global warming.

The reality that we face in Michigan is we're seeing a radical change to our way of life due to losses of jobs. The winter of our discontent comes not from the environmental climate, it comes from the economic climate, and today we see a bill from the Democratic Party that tells the working men and women of Michigan that they're going to make it harder to keep the jobs that you have on the potential that maybe someday you can have a green job. This is little comfort to my constituents. This is little comfort to the manufacturing base in America.

So when the Democrats put forward an energy bill that was a job killer, we were compelled to put forward an energy bill that is a job creator.

It is based on all-of-the-above, because why, at this point in time in America's economic recession, would you come forward with a bill the premise of which is this: the government will control the weather by raising your taxes, taking your job and telling you how to live?

This is not what my state needs.

This is not what Americans need. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that maximizes American energy, has common-sense conservation and allows for free-market innovations and that way, we can conserve our Earth for future generations, and we can make sure they have prosperity as well.

Thank you.

REP. PENCE: Questions?

Q (Off mike)

REP. PENCE: The -- we establish in the American Energy Act a policy goal -- a national policy goal of constructing 100 nuclear reactors, having them on-line, over the next 20 years and a large part of that is going to be by -- as John Shimkus described, by streamlining the regulatory process.

But the key will be to -- to invite and encourage private investment and to signal to private capital markets that the United States of America is serious about bringing about the kind of regulatory reform and streamlining that will make it possible for us to meet that objection -- objective by -- by 2030.

Now, we do have a broad range of public subsidies that are already in effect today. Republicans are not proposing to expand those public subsidies for nuclear energy, but we're not -- we're not suggesting that they -- that they change.

There's a public participation that's already in place, but the goal here would be to establish an aggressive but achievable national policy goal of 100 new nuclear reactors in the next 20 years and the statistic that I find most dramatic is that 73 percent of our CO2-free electricity in this country comes from nuclear reactors, even though only 20 percent of our electricity is produced here.

We really believe that not only is that aspect of our bill a jobs creator, not only is it a pathway toward a modern American energy infrastructure, but we also believe it's a pathway toward a cleaner environment.

Q (Off mike) private funding, but you have no cost estimate of per cost per reactor?

REP. PENCE: I will be happy to put those -- it depends on the nature of the -- of the facility.

Joe, did you want to react?

REP. BARTON: Reactors cost about $2 billion -- $1.5 billion to $2 billion in today's costs.

REP. UPTON: The other thing you have to remember, it's just -- (inaudible) -- we can reduce the cost substantially by having one -- you know, when the NRC approves one set of blueprints, then it's a lot cheaper from start to finish. We've got a plant in Michigan that's now made an application. They've spent $150 million already. It's been at the NRC for a year and a half. It's still there. Once -- assuming that that gets approved, we can have other companies across the country use that as their benchmark and they can go to work.

So you can reduce the time and reduce the cost substantially, which is why the industry says we can get to 100 in this bill.

REP. PENCE: And we believe the barrier to capital markets is the -- in many respects, the regulatory barrier.

In the back?

Q As you know, the whole theory of cap-and-trade is that you need to put a price on carbon so you encourage a transition to more expensive, cleaner sources of energy. Without that price signal, which I'm not seeing in this bill, how are you going to make sure that we go to wind, solar, all these renewable sources, and you know, we're not going to keep on relying on fossil-fuel fired generation and fuels?

REP. PENCE: Well, I think you're right that the cap-and-trade bill is a national energy tax. I think it -- the very -- the very idea of cap-and-trade is to create an additional cost burden on -- on carbon-based energy and we just -- we simply believe there is a better way and with regard to -- a better way than passing a national energy tax on every American household.

The way that we want to do that is through incentives and through catalyzing the development of new technologies. A large piece of our legislation here has to do with increasing domestic exploration for oil and natural gas on the outer continental shelf, oil shale in the Mountain West, but what we've established in this legislation is a renewable energy trust fund that would use existing programs that were passed, I'm happy to say, under Republican control in Congress, to promote the development of clean coal technology, solar, wind, geothermal.

When we were in Pittsburgh during our energy tour, one of the things we heard from researches is there's not enough research, R&D money, for the -- for people that are looking to develop these new technologies -- sequestration among them -- and the establishment of a renewable energy trust fund, using those -- those lease revenues, all of those lease revenues, is a way that we can catalyze, we believe, that development.

So we, you know, we think the American people want -- want a cleaner environment. We think they want energy independence. We think that by creating the right incentives that we can get there; that we don't need to use the coercive power of a cap-and-trade national energy tax to achieve that.

Q Going back to that point, to the 100 nuclear reactor goal, if I was a utility and I looked at building a coal-fired plant and a nuclear power plant, it's going to be cheaper for me to build a coal than a nuclear, given all the costs factored in.

What would incentivize me to build a nuclear, to go to the 100 coal -- the 100 nuclear, as opposed to coal? And, secondly, Representative Barton has talked about energy efficiency as being a productive means of moving forward. How do you incentivize at all energy efficiency in here?

REP. PENCE: I'm -- I want to yield to my betters on the issue of nuclear, but we really believe that the regulatory barriers that -- that -- legal barriers that have existed are one of the reasons why since they shut down the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in southern Indiana, not far from my home, we haven't built a new nuclear power plant in this country.

We really don't believe that the barriers have been entirely economic. We -- we believe that they've been regulatory, and maybe, John, if you want to speak to that issue?

(Cross talk)

REP. ISSA: I'd just like to answer, sort of, a combination of your two. Why would public utilities choose to build nuclear? And what will it cost?

Nuclear power is below eight cents a kilowatt hour and it costs the same in its 30th year as it does in its first year because uranium is a relatively stable cost basis.

So when you look at your nuclear facilities or you look at your public utilities and you contrast and compare a mandate like we have in California -- 20 percent renewable. If they're given a choice of putting in zero emissions nuclear with a fixed cost that is less than -- without any other incentives -- less than half the cost of solar or wind, they're going to choose the least expensive cost.

Nuclear is less expensive than the other two most touted zero emissions, and it has a smaller footprint. The large footprint of solar and wind often tends to make it impossible to put it near any -- anywhere near where people want to live. So you end up with excess transmission cost, which in California we found we can't even build the transmission lines.

So the real answer to your question is: It costs less than the other zero emissions. Therefore, if government, either state, as California, or even national, sets a genuine goal -- 20 percent, 30 percent, zero emissions -- and says, "You figure out how to do it," and they allow nuclear, nuclear will be the choice as the long-term lowest-cost solution to zero emissions.

That's very different than setting an arbitrary, below-current level of carbon and saying, "We're going to tax it, and then we're going to decide where to spend it." If you ask the utilities, and this is where all of you are critical, ask any utility company, given their choice to deliver their rate-payers the most effective, while meeting a requirement for so much renewable or zero-emissions, what they would choose, and they will tell you nuclear is cheaper than solar; nuclear is cheaper today.

It is more expensive than coal, and I agree. If you have no restraint, you will in fact choose the least expensive fuel today. But we already have restraint in many states and more coming on-line. We're not objecting to more renewables. What we're saying is let the market pick the least expensive, and let's help them do it.

REP. PENCE: I think that's -- the core of the answer is that what we want to do is use the power of the marketplace and incentives to move America toward a -- toward energy independence, a stronger economy, and a cleaner environment.

Q He set the parameters of saying zero emissions constraint, which would choose nuclear over renewables, but this bill does not set a zero emissions constraint and so therefore -- (inaudible) --

(Cross talk)

REP. SHIMKUS: Yes. Let me just talk about coal.

Do you really think there is an incentive for people to build coal-fired power plants in this country right now?

Q Not right now.

REP. SHIMKUS: No. There is no incentive. There is research. There is technology. Even in our committee, it's ten years before carbon capture and sequestration. There's more certainty to be able to store high-level nuclear waste. There's more certainty to be able to reprocess if we would ever go that way. That's our skepticism with our Democratic friends. They're not moving on reprocessing, and they closed down Yucca Mountain.

What we're saying is all-of-the-above. Bring all these folks to the table and have them compete.

And so, you know, I don't accept your premise. I think there's probably more incentive if we streamline this process on the nuclear, which I read through. What do you, have a cookie-cutter approved facility, you site it on current locations, the risk is less and these people will build them.

But we have to send a signal. The Democrat bill sends no signal to fully deploy nuclear power to meet the growing demand. None. It's like two sentences in the original bill.

Q (Off mike)

REP. PENCE: Let me -- let me address the conservation question, too, because I think that's a very -- this bill encourages American ingenuity by providing competitive award cash prizes to advance research; demonstration of commercial application of innovative energy technologies, including a $500 million prize to the first U.S. automobile manufacturer to sell 50,000 economically feasible super- fuel-efficient vehicles that get 100 miles per gallon.

It also provides tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who improve their energy efficiency. Also extends tax credits for using energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient upgrades made to existing homes.

In a very real sense, you have -- you have a conflict of visions between the Democrat approach to the environment and now the Republican alternative ad that is -- it is a difference between the -- the carrot and the stick. Republicans want to encourage conservation and fuel efficiency. We want to encourage diversification of our energy infrastructure; encourage nuclear. But we -- we want to do all of those things through creating incentives, rather than -- than a national energy tax that will ultimately be passed along to working families, small businesses and family farms.

Last question?

Q Can you talk about the issue of climate change? One of the big differences between how you guys talk about it in your press conferences, and how they, the Democrats, talk about their plan in their press conferences is theirs is a energy and a climate change bill.

To the extent that you guys talk about climate change, you talked in what's seen as ridicule, that they're -- this is something we need to do something about.

Do you think that climate change is occurring? And do you think that there's something that we can do about it? Or is it just something that's, you know, far less relevant to the overall issue of energy in your opinion?

REP. PENCE: Well, climate change has occurred over the last 100 years. There are periods where we've experienced climate change.

There is a serious debate within the scientific community whether -- whether the -- that the climate change is a result of human activity.

To a large extent, I think what you've seen Republicans say is, you know, whatever we may think about that scientific debate, we're all for a cleaner environment. We're all for energy independence. We're all for lowering carbon emissions in the creation of electricity, and we believe we can do that without passing legislation that would result in a national energy tax, you know, which -- my belief -- I don't -- a lot of you know me well. I don't use harsh rhetoric on a regular basis. But I really do believe that the Democrats' cap-and-trade legislation amounts to an economic declaration of war on American families, small business, family farmers, because of the extraordinary hardship of -- of the national energy tax provision.

We believe we can -- we can set aside that debate; we can allow the scientific community to follow the facts and conclude what they will conclude about climate change.

But -- but for our part, I think every American wants three things. They want energy independence. They want a strong and vibrant economy. And they want a cleaner environment. And the American Energy Act achieves all those goals.

REP. BARTON: Could I make a...

REP. PENCE: Please.

REP. BARTON: ... an observation?

REP. PENCE: The last word.

REP.BARTON: This is a closing observation. This press conference kind of encapsulates the entire debate.

We have the gentle lady from the AP. Her question is, you've got to have a price on carbon and make it more expensive.

This gentlemen's question is, but people that have to provide electricity want to do it on a least-cost basis. Why would they go nuclear?

And here final question is, but what are you guys going to do about climate change? I mean, you've put the whole debate in your three questions. And what -- what this bill says is, we're still of the quaint notion, as Republicans, that in general we ought to have a market-based solution. That's why we don't have any punitive measures, you know, directly on carbon -- which would go to your question and her question, too.

And -- and if you -- but we do understand that, given the fact that it is a reality the climate is changing -- but it's always been changing -- let's try to do it in a way that least disrupts the American economy.

So let's continue to have a market-based solution on the supply side. Let's put some incentives, through our renewable energy trust, which includes more definitions of types of energy than the Democrats do, so create some incentives to move to these alternatives.

Let's do R&D on some of the things like carbon capture and sequestration. Maybe we can develop a technology that makes coal power more competitive environmentally. But while we're doing it, let's don't automatically wreck the American economy.

Now, you can -- you can debate the level of the wreckage, but you cannot debate that if we were to pass and implement into law, that goes into effect in 2012, the bill that came out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, that they're going to be, order of magnitude, a million jobs a year for the next 40 years that disappear in America.

You de-industrialize America as we know it. That is not debatable.

The Democrats' bill has an unemployment provision that provides 70 percent of your job benefit for at least three years in addition to, I believe, any other unemployment benefits, if you lose your job because of that bill. They, at least tacitly, recognize that their bill is going to cost millions and millions of jobs.

So the Republican bill, we don't go down that trail. Now, maybe we're wrong. Maybe we're wrong. But the EPA analysis that -- that was accompanied the original draft that Waxman and Markey introduced, their analysis said by 2050 -- this is cumulative -- cumulative -- from 2009 to 2050, you might see a temperature gradient decrease of two degrees Celsius -- two degrees Celsius.

Now, the other analyses said you wouldn't see any temperature gradient decrease. But even a two degree Celsius is less than one degree Fahrenheit.

Now, I ask you, as -- as citizens, not as reporters, is it worth it to you to have the trillions and trillions of dollars and millions of jobs that are lost so that at best, 40 years from now, the average world temperature, whatever that number means, is two degrees Celsius less than it would be otherwise?

I think the answer to that question is, no, it's not worth it; let's do R&D; let's -- let's continue to have sane, rational economic policies that create jobs and economic opportunity for America, which is the world's largest, freest, most productive economy.

That's why we introduced this bill.

REP. PENCE: Thank you, Joe.

And I want to, again, acknowledge the ranking members extraordinary work on this Solutions Group, as well as my co-chairs, who are still with me today.

Housekeeping: The entire bill will be available -- is available now, should be in your in-boxes. Only about 160 pages. And it's also available at GOP.gov. There are also executive summaries available. And we look forward to being a resource to everyone in the room. Thank you all.

Q It's available. How about that?


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