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Mr. LOEBSACK. Madam Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
Madam Chairman, I wish to offer this amendment to provide the opportunity to lower the price of gas and oil. The purpose of my amendment is very simple: it's to ensure that our constituents are not disadvantaged by blindly holding up actions that potentially lower oil and gas prices. It will allow significant actions to move forward that would lower prices for gasoline, diesel, oil or other motor fuels.
We know that some regulations can be problematic when they aren't crafted carefully, with broad input and consideration for effects on the ground. We all know that and we all agree with that.
In fact, I've supported legislation in the past to give small businesses a bigger role in crafting regulations that affect them, and I am a member of the bipartisan Congressional Regulatory Review Caucus.
But we also know that there are some regulations that can protect public health, make our economy function more smoothly, and provide opportunity for all Americans to succeed. And as we struggle to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, there are families across the country making hard decisions about whether to put food on the table, clothes on their back, or gas in the car. Middle class folks we all know have been hurt disproportionately by higher gas prices, and that's why this amendment, I believe, is so important.
I think it would be irresponsible to pass legislation that would actually have the opposite effect, potentially, of its intention in a number of areas, gas prices being one of them.
Rural Americans, like those in my home State of Iowa, are more likely to have older vehicles, especially trucks, and farmers and others in rural areas need trucks. That is their mode of transportation.
Rural residents also--I think it's unknown to a lot of folks who live in urban areas--on average, drive 3,000 miles per year more than their urban counterparts, a disparity particularly evident when considering commutes to work.
My amendment will ensure that actions taken that would lower gas, oil, or other motor fuels, the prices of these commodities, can move forward and save money for all Americans and for Iowa families. If there is an action that could lower gas prices, I would think that we can all agree that it should move forward to benefit families and businesses and farmers who are struggling just to make ends meet.
If this legislation under consideration were already in effect, no significant actions could have been taken this year to lower oil and gas prices during a time of record costs, and we all had conversations about that on this floor earlier this year.
I've pushed for initiatives to utilize more American-produced energy, but as our Nation continues to be dependent on foreign sources, American families' costs at the pump continues to be subject to the fluctuations of speculators and manipulation. And we've already heard from some Members previously about that issue.
I think we need to be focusing our attention on becoming more energy independent through a variety of energy sources. We need an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy production. There's no doubt about that. And ensuring that actions to move forward that would lower oil or gas prices in the U.S. is part of an all-of-the-above approach where we need to be looking at all options.
I truly hope that my colleagues will support what is truly a commonsense amendment, I believe, and I urge my colleagues to ensure that our hands are not tied by this legislation and to take actions to lower gas prices. I think we can improve this bill, and I think this amendment will do that.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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Mr. LOEBSACK. I don't know where to begin. I don't have enough time to respond to everything that was said by my colleague on the other side of the aisle.
What I will say at the outset is that this has nothing to do with the Carter administration, that it has nothing to do with any previous regulations, that it has nothing to do with cost control. This is a very simple amendment. I think, if one reads the amendment, one will find that there is absolutely nothing in the amendment that is feared by the gentleman from the other side of the aisle. It's that simple.
In fact, it's this kind of debate, if we want to call it that, that is something that is very upsetting to the American people at this time and is something I hear in Iowa all the time. We've got to have a rational debate that is based on fact. There is nothing in this amendment whatsoever that the gentleman referred to. The amendment, itself, because it is so simple and because it is open-ended, would allow for many of the very same things that the gentleman on the other side of the aisle suggests that we ought to do and that I may very well be open to doing myself.
I think that's what's important about this amendment. It's simple. It's open. In fact, it allows for the very kinds of things that he mentioned to go forward. If this amendment is adopted, I think it would vastly improve the underlying bill along the lines that the gentleman, himself, argued.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
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