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Public Statements

Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KELLY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This is a subject I know a little bit about because my family actually has been in the business since 1953.

I find it unique that really just inside the Beltway we're able to pick and chose winners and losers, and we're able to tell people, you know what, you're not able to drive what you want to drive, and you're not able to use the source of energy that you want to use. You know why? Because we know better.

I tell you what: the track record here doesn't show me that you really know better--a $16 trillion business in the red, and it continues? I would look at the President. I think he has got a war on wheels.

The big thing about America is you were always able to pick the car you wanted to use. You could drive it anywhere you wanted. You could do anything you want. In this country you can leave here and drive to California if you want. You don't have to worry about it.

This amendment only asks us to do something that's common sense. I know that's hard to understand here. I have been here for 20 months, I'm still trying to figure it out, and I've pretty much got it down now.

When you take things away from people and replace them with something that they don't want, let me tell you what happens. When you raise the price of a car, what it does is take off the ability for somebody at the entry level to buy a car.

Now, the unintended consequences in this town are absolutely astounding. We talk about the loss of jobs. We talk about the loss of jobs, not just the people who build the cars but how about the people who make the tires. How about all the different elements that go into a car, all the different things that go into a car? We have a direct effect on these people being successful.

You have to get these cars lighter. When you make them lighter, what do you do? There's a safety impact there. The losses that we continue to put on our job creators is staggering here. I think the reason why is because most of the people here have never been a job creator. They have been debt creators.

They love coming up with legislation that the average American couldn't begin to figure out. They scratch their head and they raise their shoulders and say, how is this happening? I say it's happening by irresponsible legislation, or if we can't legislate it, let's just regulate it.

We understand what CAFE is all about. I was there when it first started. I understand, it was about dependence on foreign oil. The administration says, you know what, though? If you do this 54.5 miles per gallon, you know what? You'll save $8,000 in fuel. Now what they don't tell you is you have to drive 224,000 miles to reach that, but that's just a little detail. Why would we even worry about the details when we know so well what we're doing here? My goodness, it's evident.

Now there is a war on wheels. There's a war on fossil fuels, there's a war on just about everything here that would help a job creator create a job. Then we tell these people, look, we want you in here with both feet, we want you in the game. And all I say to these folks is, you know what? You need to get some skin in the game too. I want to see your noses bloodied a little bit when you come out with these ridiculous regulations.

I tell you what, as a job creator I'm being tired of being water-boarded by our own government. I'm tired of being told that you're going to have to meet these standards. How did you come up with those standards? Well, we have got some fuzzy science that we will bring in.

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Mr. KELLY. I thank the gentleman.

It's intriguing. And again, I've actually not just talked the talk; I've walked the walk. I'm always fascinated by these facts and figures that we throw around, and we talk about all the things that we're doing and we talk about General Motors.

The General Motors that I understand, the General Motors that my father started with in 1936 as a parts picker, was not the same General Motors that told me in 2009 I could no longer be a dealer, because it wasn't the same General Motors. You see, General Motors kind of went by the wayside and a new General Motors came into view.

And as we talk about all these folks that fell in line with what the administration wanted, of course they did. Who do they owe the money to? Who got bailed out in this great auto bailout? Who are the people whose jobs were saved? Who were the people whose pensions were made full and who was left hanging?

So we can talk about all these wonderful things that happened, and these are flights of fancy. This gets to be a little bit silly to me when the company that agreed to these new standards was beholden to the people who put them forward. It wasn't good enough that we already had standards on the books. No, no, no, no, 32 1/2 miles a gallon aren't enough. We've got to get to 54 1/2 miles a gallon. Why is that? Because that's what we want. We've got to get California involved. We've got to get the EPA involved. We've got to get everybody else involved.

I go back to day one when it was a CAFE standard and the idea was to get away from dependence on foreign oil. We can talk about this and we can pretend that these things didn't happen. We can pretend that General Motors went bankrupt--and the idea of taking money from the government was to keep General Motors from going bankrupt. Amazingly, they went bankrupt. And isn't it something that a company the size of General Motors could emerge from bankruptcy in 11 days? My gosh, that's fantastic. Not only did they emerge, but you know what they were able to keep? They were able to keep carry-forward tax losses. That usually doesn't happen in normal bankruptcy. But we can game that a little bit.

So when we talk to these other manufacturers and we say we'll give a carrot here, but we also got a little stick that goes with it, yeah, they went along with it. But look who went along with it. The board of directors was not elected by shareholders. It was appointed by the administration.

Now these flights of fancy are a little bit funny inside here, but for a guy that actually walked that walk and had a dealership taken away from him--not because I couldn't run it but because the administration decided under the new General Motors that I wasn't going to be a dealer anymore--that's hard to take. My dad started in 1953, worked very hard to get there. We actually did build it. I mean, we physically built it ourselves. And now to be told, Well, we've made a decision; you're not going to.

Now, this energy stuff gets a little bit weird to me. And I know the President likes to take credit for all the things that the Bush administration did. The fact of the matter is permitting has been stopped. And what I would encourage all Members to do is go out in the field, talk to the people in the coal business, talk to people in the oil business, talk to people that are having a tough time staying open because they can't get a permit. Now you can get a permit, but you just have to wait in line a long time to get it.

These things, again, this is common sense. And if we can't come together in this House and do what's right for the people of the United States, then there's something dramatically wrong. We've got tremendous natural resources. You just have to take advantage of it.

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