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Mr. SCALISE. I want to thank my friend from up the Mississippi River in Missouri, Madam Speaker, for yielding to me and talking about this important issue, because there seems to be a lot of energy as we are talking about energy in this House.
I think yesterday was so exciting to see not only the gavel ceremoniously
passed from Nancy Pelosi to now Speaker BOEHNER, but also that these principles that are in the Constitution be restored to the people.
This is the people's House, and it should operate as the people's House. And I think now it's starting to get back to those principles that we articulated today when we read the Constitution, a real uplifting experience. It is sad, unfortunately, to note as we look through history that this was the first time that the entire U.S. Constitution was read on the House floor. I think this should be an event that occurs every new Congress so that we reestablish and remind ourselves just what we are up here to uphold.
As we talk about the spending issues of the country, I think one area that shows you where spending has gotten out of control is, if you go to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, as I know my friend from Utah is such a proud proponent: ``The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.''
And yet, if you look, so many of the things that we are doing up here in Washington, that this Federal Government has gotten so expansive in doing, have absolutely nothing to do with powers that were delegated in the Constitution.
In fact, one of the big debates we are going to have here this week, our first week here under this new Congress, is about this government takeover of health care that a Federal court just ruled is not constitutional. The Federal Government, under Federal court ruling now, does not have the authority to mandate that American citizens have to buy a private product as a condition of citizenship.
So I think the fact that not only today did we put our money where our mouths are by voting to cut our own budgets, because as we are talking about cutting all throughout government where there is duplication, where there are departments that shouldn't even exist, these czars, these 30 or so shadow government figures that are running their own, almost, cabinets, like a secret cabinet that is running out there, and every one of them has multimillion dollar budgets and staffs, and they are not accountable to anybody except the President--not to the people, not to the Senate, that the Constitution says they should be doing. We are going to be going and looking at all of those areas to make serious cuts.
But then we also have to look--and of course tomorrow we will be voting on the start of the process--to repeal ObamaCare and do what the courts have already said--this isn't constitutional; it shouldn't be on the books--and get rid of that constitutional mandate with all the bad taxes and other things that go with it.
But then we have got to look at creating jobs. And I think that's where you get into an area where, while we are cutting spending, which we need to do aggressively, we also need to unleash the potential of the individual.
It is not government here in Washington that makes this a great country, and really the greatest country in the history of the world. It's the power of our people back home--the small business owner, the stay-at-home mom who is raising a family--the people that actually make this country work. And there is no place I don't think any more evident of what is wrong with Washington and hurting that opportunity than in my home State where you have got this permitorium going on since after the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It's the President's policies, not the actions and failures of BP. It's the President's policies that, according to the White House, have put 12,000 people out of work through what is called a permitorium.
The government has said all of the companies that didn't do anything wrong, the companies that played by the rules, that follow all the best safety guidelines in the world and had no problems, now the government has shut them down, put them out of work, and they are not even issuing permits.
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Mr. SCALISE. In fact, it's exactly the opposite of the government being the servant. It's the government being the oppressor. And as I mentioned, 12,000 jobs have already been lost in south Louisiana alone. And these aren't my numbers; this is the White House. And the White House and the President's response to that was, well, they could just go get unemployment.
These aren't people who want to get on unemployment rolls. They are hardworking people who love and have a great, strong work ethic. They want to be contributing to America's energy security. But it's this administration that has shut them down and not allowed them to go back to work drilling safely.
And I'm not talking about BP. I'm talking about the companies who have played by the rules all along, who have never had any safety problems because they follow a higher standard. They are the ones that have been shut down and put out of work.
And not only is it affecting Louisiana in terms of the 12,000 jobs; it has now affected America's energy security, because right now, nationally, this is a time, once you get out of the summer, where gas prices typically start falling again. But what are we seeing? We are seeing the opposite of that. Now gas prices are breaking over the $3-a-gallon mark in many States because, in part, this administration has changed our energy policies where we have shut off more areas of energy production in America, which means these Middle Eastern countries, many of whom don't like us, other foreign countries are now producing the energy that we need, which reverses our trade balance. It sends billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to foreign countries out of America, and then it makes our country less secure, which is why we are approaching $100-a-barrel gasoline now, because the Americans have basically said through President Obama's policies: We are going to shut off most of our sources of known energy. But, of course, our demand for energy hasn't dropped in the country, so that means we are now going to have to be more reliant on many of these foreign countries who don't like us.
So it has not only devastating consequences in terms of 12,000 lost jobs in south Louisiana, but also devastating effects on America's energy security which now we are seeing reflected in these gas prices that are now breaking $3 a gallon.
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