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Public Statements

Republican Freshman Quarterly Report

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HELLER of Nevada. Thank you very much. I appreciate the comments, and I appreciate you putting this together. I am proud to be part of the quarterly report that we have going on here today, spend some time with the folks back home and let them know what is going on here in Washington, D.C. and what we are trying to do to help them. And I want to thank you again for putting us together.

And you know what is great is to be able to listen to the gentleman from Michigan talk about the experiences that he has within his district. And I think we can do that with Louisiana, with Ohio, Tennessee, California, but I want to give a couple of examples of what I am seeing in Nevada.

I have got a pretty large district. I joke with my colleagues sometimes about the distance that I have to drive, 15 hours to get from one end of my district to the other. I go home most weekends and probably drive 500 miles. In fact, this weekend I am driving out to Elko, which is going to be another 500-mile drive. But that is okay. That is okay.

You know, the difficult part about this is that I try to meet my constituents in my district. Every year I try to travel as far as I can, and the exorbitant cost now that it is, just to visit with my constituents, is becoming incredible. I drove about 50,000 miles this year. And had I done that 2 years ago, in trying to visit with my constituents it would have cost me actually $90,000 less, $90,000 extra dollars to drive because of the non-actions of this particular Congress.

But I want to put a face, just like the gentleman from Michigan did, on what is going on here in the State of Nevada. As I drive across the State, I can give examples.

I have a daughter, and many of you have children that are in sports. And it is a shame that playing in some of these competitive teams, once you get to a competitive level you find yourself traveling great distances. She happens to be playing out of Reno, and she has to go down to Las Vegas or maybe to Sacramento, maybe up to Oregon, across the State to Elko or somewhere of that nature. So it is getting pretty expensive for parents, and I am having parents starting to complain that they can't go to the away games. It is difficult for them to get to the away games because of the cost of travel because of the high fuel costs.

Another example of that, I was in a small town called Lovelock, and they have a restaurant over there called Sturgeons, and I was talking to the general manager. And they were talking about the price of eggs. The price of an egg, since the beginning of the year has gone from 7 cents to 13 cents.

Now, Lovelock is not that far out of the way. From Reno it is probably an hour and a half or so. So you wouldn't think that travel costs would be that expensive. But it is the cost of everything, because of the inaction of this particular Congress, that is causing these problems. It isn't just the price of fuel. Of course it is the price of poultry.

When we start taking all of this corn and the grains and the byproducts and start turning them into ethanol and using what could be used for feed for cattle, for poultry, for hogs and everything else, everything is going up and getting very expensive very, very quickly.

I think ethanol is a mistake right now. I think we need to take a look at other ways, other ways of providing energy, and that is why we went on this trip to ANWR.

But I want to give one more example, and that is a particular family that came to visit me last week. The Anderson family came in, one of my constituents, family from Nevada, and they came out here. They have a couple of children and they want to show their children Washington, D.C. And I was fortunate enough to have them come by my office. And I believe he is a dental technician and she is a nurse, and they have a young daughter that plays volleyball, very good at volleyball. Their son is a very good baseball player. And they are talking about how difficult it is for them to provide, and the problems that they are facing now with these high fuel prices.

They are very good athletes, and so they want to make all of their events, and it gets more and more difficult.

To tell you how difficult it is getting, in my home State of Nevada, according to the USA Today, because of fuel prices for airlines, they are cutting 10 percent of their flights. Well, we are one of five States they are going to cut more than 10 percent of their flights into Nevada.

Now, for a State like ours that relies heavily on

tourism and traffic, you can imagine the impact that that is having. But it is not just coming into the State, the lack of 10 percent flights. It is the lack of 10 percent flights now that are going out. And they talked about how difficult it is to get a flight now and the exorbitant cost it is.

I think an airline industry today just announced that the extra bag is not going to be $25, it is going to be an additional $25 on top of that, for a total of $50 so that they can compensate for these huge costs.

I want to banter back and forth more. I want to talk about our trip to ANWR. I want to talk about our experiences in Golden, Colorado. I think they were great. I want to give others a chance to introduce themselves. And thank you again for the opportunity to be here. And I will yield back to you.

Mr. HELLER of Nevada. Thank you.

You make a very good point on this.

You have heard me say this before, but this energy policy is a three-legged stool. We have to conserve; we have to look at renewable sources; we also need to drill for more oil. You can't do one without the other. You'll have an energy policy that fails. You can't do two without the third or that energy policy will fail.

I'll tell you what I got out of this trip to ANWR, which I thought overall really put this in perspective for me. And that is, as was mentioned, we use 20 million barrels of oil a day here in this country. If we do everything we can to conserve--and the American people are moving in that direction, and I applaud that--if we do everything we possibly can for renewable energy, and that is meet our goals--we have a goal here in these Chambers of 15 percent by the year 2020. If we meet those goals, if we conserve, we're still going to need an additional 10 million barrels of oil a day by 2030.

So where are we going to get the additional 10 million barrels of oil that the American people are going to need if we continue to stop this possibility of going to ANWR, going offshore, looking at shale, looking at all these other prospects, and building additional refineries: Where are we going to get that additional 3 million barrels that we are going to need, even though we're on top of the renewable process and we have conserved, as the American people are doing today? That's the question that needs to be answered.

Mr. HELLER of Nevada. In my local newspaper just today, there was an article written by some of the people that you're talking about, some of the more extreme environmentalists saying that this country would be better off today if we had the same gas prices as they have in Holland, $10 a gallon: $10 a gallon, if we had that, America would be better off. I have a hard time believing that we are better off if we to try to Europeanize ourselves and increase the price per gallon.

I've had town hall meetings. I've had over a hundred thousand people polled of what they thought of a 50 cent per gallon increase. Eighty-two percent are against it. We have people now calling for doubling the gasoline prices we have today.

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