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Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, this bill is missing a great opportunity where we have common ground on energy efficiency. Mr. Upton and Mr. Whitfield are great chairmen of the subcommittee and the standing committee and made an honest effort to try to include all of the possible things that we could do on energy efficiency, but we came up short.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy--and that is made up of a lot of private sector companies that are trying to meet the demand that their consumers, corporate consumers, and individuals have to get more bang for their energy dollar by using less and saving more--has said that this bill will not reduce energy consumption in the United States. It will increase it, at a cost of about $20 billion through 2040.
Why are we doing that? Energy efficiency is the area where we agree. There is a lot of contentious debate about climate change; we are not going to resolve that today. But we have bipartisan agreement that we should use less energy. It is good for our customers, and it is good for the economy, and it is good for the environment. We came up short.
Many of the costs in energy efficiency could be saved with building codes language, which Mr. McKinley, an engineer on the Republican side, introduced along with me. That is not in this bill.
There was a number of other bipartisan amendments that could have been offered. One by Mr. Kinzinger, the Smart Building Acceleration Act, should be in the bill. One by Mr. Reed, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, should be in the bill.
So energy efficiency, that is the place we can work together, and it is the place where we save money by using less energy and improving our economy and improving the environment as well.
The second area is the renewable fuel standards.
We have a huge debate in this Congress. If you are a corn farmer and you are from that district, the renewable fuel standards work for you because it increases what you get for producing corn.
Everywhere else, you are getting hammered. The cost to farmers who have to pay grain bills is higher. The cost to consumers who have to buy food is higher. The cost to small engine owners who have to get more repairs is higher. And it is bad for the environment.
That has been determined, I think, to be a well-intended flop.
Many of us had amendments that were going to let this Congress vote on the renewable fuel standard. It was denied by the Committee on Rules because the Congressional Budget Office has said that if we actually passed an amendment eliminating the renewable fuel standards, drivers of pickup trucks and cars would get higher gas mileage, and, therefore, there would be less revenue in the transportation bill from the gas tax, and we might have to pay more to farmers as a subsidy.
Now, what is going on here when we can't take a vote on a proposal that would have the effect of saving the driving public money on gas?
You know, I am willing to take that vote. I am willing to take the heat for saving drivers in this country money because they can get better mileage without ethanol in the fuel.
Mr. Speaker, there has been a real effort here on the committee to make progress. My goal is that we keep at it and try to improve this bill as it goes along the legislative path.
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