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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RUSH. Mr. Chairman, since the beginning of the 112th Congress, we have held over 30 Energy and Power Subcommittee and joint subcommittee hearings. We have held over a dozen subcommittee and full committee markups, and including H.R. 4480, which we will vote on today, we have had 10 bills that originated from the Energy and Power Subcommittee that have been voted on by the full House.

Yet, Mr. Chairman, from all of that time and all that effort, the Energy and Power Subcommittee has produced exactly one substantive bill. Let me repeat: only one substantive, significant bill, the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Act, the only one that has actually become law.

Mr. Chairman, instead of focusing our efforts on trying to create the clean energy jobs of the 21st century, the majority party has spent the past 18 months lobbing partisan attacks against the EPA and the Clean Air Act in order to appease Big Oil and some of the more extreme constituencies that the Republican Party represents.

Mr. Chairman, most Americans would like to see us utilizing our time working in a bipartisan manner to address critical issues, such as access to jobs, clean air, and clean water, less dependence on foreign oil, enhanced energy-efficiency measures, and an increased reliance on the cleaner and renewable energy sources of the future.

Instead, here we are again debating yet another bill that would continue the concerted effort by the majority party to weaken the authority of the EPA and to delegitimize the Agency's regulations as job killers.

Mr. Chairman, with just a little over 20 days remaining before the August recess, we should be focusing our limited time on legislation that will create jobs and move America forward toward a smarter energy future that is less vulnerable to the whims of the world oil market. However, nothing in this bill accomplishes that.

The most offensive provision of this bill, the Gasoline Regulations Act, would fundamentally change a cornerstone of public health law, the Clean Air Act, and I ask my colleagues: Why, to what end?

This bill will not create any jobs but, rather, would block EPA rules to make the fuel we put into our cars cleaner. This bill would also block rules that would cut toxic air pollution from refineries.

This bill blocks the EPA from requiring new refineries from cutting carbon pollution that causes climate change, and it even blocks the agency from revising the national air quality standard for ozone to reflect the best-available science and medical evidence about how much ozone is safe to breathe without serious health effects.

Mr. Chairman, one truth remains, and that truth is that H.R. 4480 isn't really about jobs, isn't really about lowering gasoline prices. It is about an excuse to push a profoundly anti-environmental agenda and provide oil companies with more items from their election year wish list.

Oppose this bill because it would strike at the heart of the Clean Air Act and would not provide any tangible benefits to the American people. I urge all of my colleagues to oppose it as well.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. RUSH. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

There is widespread opposition to the Republican oil-above-all bill. The Obama administration opposes the Republican bill. Its Statement of Administration Policy says:

The administration strongly opposes H.R. 4480, which would undermine the Nation's energy security, roll back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States, discourage environmental analysis and civic engagement in Federal decisionmaking, and impede progress on important Clean Air Act rules to protect the health of American families.

If the President were presented with H.R. 4480, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill. Numerous public health organizations oppose this bill, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and various others.

Mr. Chair, this bill is nonsensical and is another bill in a long list of Big Oil giveaways pushed by the most anti-environmental House in the history of our Nation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. RUSH. Mr. Chairman, while gas prices have subsided over the past few months, Americans are still very concerned about the issue of jobs and high unemployment. In my district and in the African American community in general, joblessness is far higher than the national average with some communities experiencing unemployment rates of up to 60 percent. Yet even with these staggering figures, we are here today debating a bill that will do absolutely nothing to address this critical issue that the American people are facing. Nada, zip, zero will it do.

Mr. Chairman, the House will only be in session a little over 20 more days before we recess in August; and after that, this House will barely be in session until after the November elections. During this limited time, we should be focusing our attention on legislation that will create jobs and move America forward towards a smarter energy future that is less vulnerable to the whims of the world's oil market.

However, there is nothing in this bill, H.R. 4480, that will do anything to address the issues most important to the American people. Neither jobs nor gas prices are dealt with in this bill.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment, the amendment that I'm offering today, gets right to the heart of the matter and simply states that:

Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the administrator of the Energy Information Administration shall make a determination as to whether implementation of this Act is projected to lower gasoline prices or create jobs within the United States within 10 years.

That's what my amendment says--clearly, simply, concisely.

However, if the administrator of the EIA determines that implementation of this act is not projected to lower prices or create jobs in 10 years, then the most egregious provisions of this bill, sections 205 and 206, which attack existing Clean Air Act protections, will sunset and cease to be in effect.

Mr. Chairman, provisions in this bill, such as title II, the Gasoline Regulations Act, use the backdrop of high unemployment and fluctuating gas prices as a ruse to once again attack the EPA and the Clean Air Act, without doing a single thing to actually reduce the cost that Americans are paying at the pump or to deliver more jobs to the American people.

Mr. Chairman, Congress should not remove long-standing Clean Air Act requirements for EPA to set ambient air quality standards at the level necessary to protect human health.

Nor should the majority attempt to block and delay several EPA air quality and public health provisions under the guise of falsely claiming that these attacks on EPA will actually create jobs or reduce gas prices. Time and time again over the past year and a half, this Congress, under the majority party's leadership, has voted to roll back provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Mr. Chairman, I urge all of my colleagues to vote for the Rush amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. RUSH. I am so glad you used the story and told the story of your neighbor, because your neighbor is not unlike my neighbors. They're suffering from unemployment; they're suffering from high gas prices. But what confuses me and what's gotten me astounded is the fact that in this bill, your neighbor, her problems, my neighbor's problems, the problems of all the Members of this body, all of our neighbors' problems, our problems aren't addressed.

All I'm asking for is that if the EIA--a fairly knowledgeable agency, an agency that is respected--if they determine after looking at the provisions of this bill and say that this bill will not create one job, this bill doesn't address rising gasoline prices----

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