2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour Coming to Kansas
Our economy remains in fragile condition, and across our country family budgets and small businesses have been stretched to their limits as a result of skyrocketing gas prices. On Thursday, May 24th my fellow members of the House Energy Action Team will spread out across the country to promote a true all-of-the above energy agenda that the President has ignored for far too long. By expanding our domestic energy production, we can begin to ensure our energy future while generating needed economic growth and job creation in order to get Americans back to work.
I am thrilled to announce that Kansas will play a role in this effort. On Thursday, May 24th, Congressman Billy Long, from Missouri, and I will tour a Morris Energy Company oil well outside of Girard, Kansas. We will use the opportunity to highlight the importance of domestic energy production to the Kansas, Missouri, regional and national economy, as well as job creation and our national security. The Kansas oil and gas industry is a $4.3 billion dollar industry and employs tens of thousands of hard working Americans. Oil and gas are produced in 89 of Kansas' 105 counties, and the industry supports $2.7 billion in family income in Kansas.
New drilling technologies are quickly turning the U.S. into an energy superpower. By some estimates, there are 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be recovered - nearly twice the reserves in the Middle East and North Africa. This has led to predictions that in just five years, the U.S. could pass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's largest oil producer. Finally, moving us towards truly becoming energy independent. In Kansas, that independence will bring thousands of high paying jobs, revenue for state and local governments and payouts for landowners through leasing agreements and hefty royalty checks.
Our American Energy and Jobs Tour event will kick off just west of Girard with a site tour of a standard oil well. Derek Morris of Morris Energy will lead the tour, highlighting the various operations of the well and other aspects of the drilling industry. Following the tour, we will host an onsite press conference.
Full House Appropriations Committee Advances NBAF Funding
The protection of our Nation's citizens and food supply is a critical mission of the Congress and the Federal Government. The Department of Homeland Security, under both the Bush and Obama administrations, and the House Appropriations Committee, under both Democrat and Republican leadership, have made it quite clear, time and again, that to complete this mission our Country needs the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) and the best place for the NBAF is Manhattan, Kansas.
Another significant stride toward the completion of the NBAF was made this week when the full House Appropriations Committee approved the language for the FY2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill by unanimous voice vote. The committee approved language includes $75 million for the construction of the Nation Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas, and directs the Department of Homeland Security to complete a funding plan for the completion of the NBAF. The Appropriations Committee also called for the previously appropriated $40 million in FY2011 for the construction of the Central Utility Plant at the NBAF and the $50 million in FY2012 for the construction of the facility as a whole to be released by the Department of Homeland Security. All told, the newly appropriated funds will bring the total House commitment to construction on NBAF to $165 million.
I've said all along that building the NBAF in Manhattan is a national security priority, and I am glad the full Appropriations Committee has agreed and advanced legislation that begins to fund the construction in earnest. I look forward to continuing to work closely with House Leadership and the full House to ensure these funds are included in the final legislation.
CFO Round Table Looking Toward End of Year Tax Hikes
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining my colleagues Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (IL-06) and Congressman Tom Reed (NY-29) for a roundtable discussion with the CFO's from Verizon, American Water, Southern Company, and PPL to examine the impact of the pending hike in capital gains and dividends taxes on job growth and investment. The new 3.8% tax from the health care law starting in 2013, coupled with the potential sun setting of the income tax rates of the last decade on January 1st, means that we are facing a 58% tax rate on capital gains and a 189% higher tax rate on dividend income at the end of the year.
We simply cannot allow this dramatic tax hike to occur. As the CFO's, my House colleagues, and I discussed during our roundtable, 60% of American's who claim capital gains and dividend income are over the age of 50 and 30% are over 65. Yet, not only do we have a significant amount of our seniors relying on this income, but with such a drastic raise in tax liability American companies could no longer afford to invest back into our economy. That means less growth, less jobs, and a far weaker economy than the American people deserve.
My colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee and I believe in reforming the tax code, not raising taxes. By ensuring capital gains and dividend taxes do not increase in 2013, we can create more stability and certainty in the market and the economy as a whole. An efficient tax code, especially when coupled with reduced spending in Washington, can help spur the creation of millions of jobs and lead us out of this slow recovery.