BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. CANTOR. Madam Speaker, if there is one thing everyone in this Chamber should be able to agree on, it is that we need to focus on job creation and relieve the burden on middle-class families, not increase it. Yet the evidence suggests that by taking up this cap-and-trade bill, we are abandoning this fundamental mission.
According to an MIT study, the legislation before us will force America's middle-class families to pay as much as $3,100 in higher prices every year. The EPA, meanwhile, estimates that a family of four will eventually pay an additional average of $1,100 each year.
The impact on jobs is equally dismal. A CRA International study finds the legislation, when fully implemented, will cost America 2.3 to 2.7 million jobs. This, at a time when hundreds of thousands of workers are losing their jobs every month.
In the midst of a severe recession, why would we even contemplate a plan that amounts to a growth-killing millstone around the neck of small businesses and all American consumers.
Madam Speaker, it is not the utilities, the oil companies, and the other producers who will bear the cost of this new regime. We already know that the companies will pass their higher costs along to the consumers and small businesses that rely on their services. This means more expensive bills for all Americans on everything from electricity to heating to gasoline to groceries.
We also can't forget that this national energy tax comes down hardest on the poor. The highest income quintile spends less than 5 percent of its income on energy-intensive products, but our families in the lowest income quintile spend over 20 percent on those items--this, according to CBO.
Madam Speaker, with a watchful eye toward the consequences for jobs and economic growth, let us give thoughtful consideration to the limited benefits this unilateral action will bring about. Even if the bill cuts U.S. carbon emissions to 83 percent of current levels by 2050, we still are only anticipated to slow global temperature increases by a mere two-tenths of a degree.
And then there's the real elephant in the room, India and China. Both of these freewheeling nations are growing rapidly and not prepared to slow down. Do we really want to hamstring U.S. industry and put it at a competitive disadvantage to Asia? Can we be so naive to assume our businesses, jobs--and emissions--won't emigrate to China and India?
Moving to eliminate CO2 from the atmosphere is a noble endeavor, but taking this kind of action without enforceable carbon commitments from our competitors is only an exercise in futility.
Madam Speaker, Republicans remain committed to bringing a swift end to the recession and paving the path to prosperity. We intend to focus on policies that will put people back to work and grow the economy. That does not include this cap-and-trade proposal. With stakes so high, gambling the house away on such a high-cost, low-reward program is a grave mistake that Republicans will not support.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT