Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, President Obama struck several important themes. None was strategically more vital than making America energy-independent again. Then he referenced the related challenge of climate change and its impact on life on our continent and world. Only fools would fail to pay attention to the necessity of change to meet the needs of a new era.
Our dependence on importing foreign oil cost America over $321 billion last year, racking up a $140 billion trade deficit in petroleum and energy alone. With that lost income comes lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands. So many more people could be employed here at home, developing domestic energy sources rather than defending exploitation and extraction abroad.
And on climate change, the President recognized the reality of fierce and expensive weather incidents like Hurricane's Sandy and Katrina, or our declining lake levels and river levels, like the Mississippi, or the 2-foot drop in Lake Erie over the last year. We must anticipate and adapt our lives where possible.
Yes, as the 113th Congress begins, our primary aim will be to welcome the challenges of change, not cling to the past. Working together, as the President challenged, America can meet the test of a new day. My brother, Steve, the inventor, innately grasps this challenge. So must we.