Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) issued the following statement after House Democrats passed legislation (H.R. 3534) that will destroy American jobs, increase energy costs, and make America more dependent on foreign sources of energy:
"Since the oil spill began over three months ago, Republicans have repeatedly called on congressional Democrats to focus on permanently stopping the oil leak, holding BP accountable, cleaning up the spill, and finding out what went wrong. Instead, Democrats have exploited this crisis to force through a misguided bill that will raise energy costs, destroy jobs, and make America more dependent on foreign oil.
"This legislation will have devastating consequences for the American people because it establishes a new tax on American energy, imposes a job-killing de facto moratorium on offshore drilling, and includes $30 billion in unrelated spending that will be piled onto the backs of our kids and grandkids.
"Thousands of families and small businesses that have been hit hardest by this tragedy are looking for real solutions to clean up the spill, and restore the lost jobs and revenue that are crippling local economies. Instead, Democrats have used this tragedy to advance more of their job-killing agenda. Republicans are listening to Americans, and will continue to fight for better solutions to meet the immediate needs of Gulf Coast residents, hold BP accountable, and address the long-term energy needs of the nation."
NOTE : Prior to the bill's passage, House Republicans identified several provisions in the legislation that would have a devastating impact on American energy consumers, including the following:
* $22 Billion Tax on American Energy: This bill imposes a $22 billion tax on American oil and natural gas, a cost that will eventually be passed onto every American -- including families, farmers, and small business owners - in the form of higher energy bills. This new tax applies only to U.S. oil and gas production on federal leases, giving a price advantage to foreign oil and gas from countries such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, at the expense of American jobs and energy independence.
* $14.3 Billion in Legal Costs: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the American taxpayer will be on the hook for $14.3 billion in legal costs resulting from litigation over the new retroactive tax on American energy. In fact, for a long period of time, the federal government will spend more in lawsuit payouts than it will collect from the new energy tax.
* $30 Billion Earmark Slush Fund: This bill provides more than $30 billion in new mandatory spending for two programs that have nothing to do with the oil spill. In the version of the bill headed to the House floor, Democrats added brand new language that expressly allows this $30 billion to be earmarked by the Appropriations Committee, creating a new earmark slush fund that has nothing to do with the oil spill.
* A Job-Killing De Facto Moratorium on Deepwater American Energy: This bill would impose a de facto moratorium on offshore oil and gas production by increasing taxes and regulation, adding layers of bureaucracy, imposing unlimited liability caps and allowing the approval process for exploration plans to be extended indefinitely. With the Obama Administration's moratorium already costing thousands of jobs, this provision will only exacerbate the struggle that thousands of families reliant on energy jobs on the Gulf Coast are facing.
* Jobs and Revenue Destroying Unlimited Liability Caps: This bill includes unlimited liability caps for offshore energy producers. This would effectively eliminate smaller and independent producers from operating if they cannot obtain insurance policies to cover their operations. According to a recent study, putting these producers out of business could cost up to 300,000 jobs and $147 billion in federal, state and local revenues.
* A Vehicle for Unnecessary, Unrelated Provisions: This bill is being sold as a response to the Gulf tragedy, yet House Democrats are including page after page of provisions that are unrelated to the oil spill, will kill American jobs, and are premature by acting before Congress has the full facts from numerous ongoing investigations. In fact, when one House Democrat, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), was asked why he was adding a provision on geothermal regulations to this bill, he said, "This is a really nice train leaving the station and probably the only one this Congress."
* Troubled Offshore Agency Given New Responsibilities Onshore: This bill would expand the scope of the beleaguered federal agency -- formerly known as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) - whose primary mission is oversight of offshore operations, and which President Obama has blamed, in part, for the failures that contributed to the tragedy in the Gulf. Under this legislation, the agency is awarded primary federal responsibility over onshore federal energy project leasing (like natural gas, wind, solar, oil, and geothermal) by explicitly removing leasing authority from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
* Political Cover for the President: In the version of this legislation to be considered on the House floor, Democrat leadership removed a provision authored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to establish a bipartisan, independent National Commission on Outer Continental Shelf Oil Spill Prevention. Democrats rejected it to shield the Administration from any criticism that could result from the findings of an independent commission comprised of technical experts. Instead, President Obama is relying on his own hand-picked commission, which includes no technical experts, to find out what went wrong on his watch.