America's continued dependence on Middle Eastern oil has cost us dearly, in dollars and in lives. It is both an enormous challenge and also a great opportunity for our country to put itself on the forefront of developing alternative energy sources AND much greater efficiency. But for too long, Washington has talked about the problem and done little to fix it. This problem won't be solved overnight, but we can't afford to kick the can down the road any longer. Now more than ever, we need a long-term national energy policy that works toward energy independence and ensures greater national security, while also creating new American job opportunities.
End tax subsidies to oil companies. While the oil industry has reaped record profits and gas prices have soared, Congress has helped Big Oil with generous tax subsidies. These subsidies are unnecessary and we should put an end to them. When we need to control government spending there is no justification for a $41 billion giveaway to Big Oil.
Promote clean energy technology. We need to be careful not to have the government pick which technologies will be successful, but instead structure incentives that will allow private investment and the market to move us rapidly to a more energy-efficient and clean-energy future. Getting the incentives right is a triple win -- greater security for our country by disentangling us from unsavory regimes around the world, the environmental benefit of cleaner air and water, and the economic benefit of developing products that we can sell to other countries.
Incentives for fuel-efficient vehicle production. By making more fuel efficient vehicles we can strengthen our economy and reduce gas consumption, saving us money at the pump.
Stop price gouging at the pump. The federal government must protect consumers and ensure that oil companies are not plotting to keep gas prices high and that speculators are not illegally driving up the price of oil.
Protect home heating assistance. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been under assault in Washington. LIHEAP provides critical aid to many of the elderly in Connecticut, who cannot afford to heat their homes in the winter. I will lead an effort to protect and expand this important program in Congress, just as I fought for critical energy assistance in the state legislature.