Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, later today, the Senate will vote on an issue of vital importance to every American family and business, and that is whether the Environmental Protection Agency should be allowed to impose a backdoor national energy tax on the American people.
This vote is needed because of the administration's insistence on advancing its goals by any means possible, in this case by going around the legislative branch and imposing this massive, job-killing tax on Americans through an unaccountable Federal agency.
Ironically, just last year, President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took the position that on an issue of this magnitude, which touches every corner of our economy, Congress, not the EPA, should determine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But now that it is clear Congress will not pass this new national energy tax this year, the administration has shifted course and is now trying to get done through the backdoor what they have not been able to get through the front door.
Like the cap-and-trade legislation they would replace, these EPA regulations would raise the price of everything from electricity to gasoline to fertilizer to food on our supermarket shelves. That is why groups representing farmers, builders, manufacturers, small business owners, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are so strongly opposed to these EPA regulations and so supportive of the Murkowski resolution to stop them.
These groups know these backdoor moves by EPA will deal a devastating blow to an economy already in rough shape. And so does the President. He said himself that his plan would cause electricity prices for consumers to ``necessarily skyrocket.'' The President himself said this plan would cause prices for consumers to ``necessarily skyrocket.''
At a time of nearly 10-percent unemployment, these new regulations would kill U.S. jobs. According to one estimate, the House cap-and-trade bill would kill more than 2 million U.S. jobs and put American businesses at a disadvantage to their competitors overseas.
Closer to home, these regulations would be especially devastating for States such as Kentucky and other Midwestern coal States. EPA regulations resulting in dramatic energy price increases would jeopardize the livelihoods of the 17,000 miners in our State and an additional 51,000 jobs that depend on coal production and the low cost of electricity that Kentuckians enjoy. That is why in the last few days alone, my office has received more than 1,000 letters, e-mails, and phone calls from Kentuckians opposed to this effort from EPA.
A lot of Kentuckians work hard to ensure that our State has the lowest industrial electricity rate in the Nation, and that is something we are proud of at home.
This bill would lead to a dramatic increase in these electricity rates, punishing businesses both large and small.
But the job losses would not stop there. As I indicated, this backdoor energy tax would be felt on farms as well, where increased energy and fertilizer prices would drive up costs for farmers and livestock producers who do not have the ability to pass on these increases. This would be an especially painful blow to them, and that is why the Farm Bureau and many other farm groups oppose what the EPA is trying to do.
There are many different views in this body on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some favor the Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill, a significant portion of which, by the way, has been pushed by the oil company BP. Many Members on this side of the aisle have proposals they support as well.
One thing we should be able to agree on is that the worst possible outcome is for the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA to unilaterally impose these job-killing regulations. That is why it is my hope that later this afternoon we will vote to stop this blatant power grab by the administration and EPA and pass Senator Murkowski's legislation to stop this backdoor national energy tax dead in its tracks.
This effort by the EPA would be devastating for jobs and an economy that needs them desperately. It is bad for the economy and bad for representative democracy. It should be stopped.
I yield the floor.