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Public Statements

Beach Protection Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Madam Chairman, I come to the floor in appreciation of the underlying intent of both the amendment and the underlying bill as well.

But I am mindful of the fact, as I come from the great State of New Jersey and as we think about the issue at hand, and that is our beaches and the shores generally, I was just talking with someone recently that due to the high cost of energy and the high cost of gasoline, a lot of my constituents, quite honestly, won't be able to even enjoy the Jersey shore this summer, to ``go down below,'' as we call it, down to the Jersey shore to enjoy it and enjoy whatever improvements that this amendment, which I support, and the underlying bill, which I support, would bring to us.

So the point I just want to spend a moment on is the fact that while we debate these tertiary issues, the fundamental issue that folks back in my district are concerned about is how are we going to afford in the first place to get about our State of New Jersey, to get to the shore, to enjoy our vacation, to enjoy the beaches if Congress is not doing anything whatsoever to address the high cost of gasoline and to address the high cost of energy in the State of New Jersey and the rest of the country as well.

Here we are now in the ides of April, the middle of April. This is about, let's see, 12, 13, 14, 15, the 16th month now into this, the 110th Congress under the Democrat leadership. And we have to ask ourselves one seminal question, one basic question: What has the 16th month of Democrat leadership brought us in a whole host of areas? And I will get to the energy issue in a minute.

Well, we see in the area of food prices, my constituents also tell me that the price of food, when they go to the A&P or the grocery stores every day, whatever the store is, are going through the roof. The housing crisis. We will go to any committee here. I serve on the Financial Services Committee. We know we are in a terrible housing crisis right now, a subprime crisis affecting credit markets across the country. Fuel costs I have already mentioned. A recession. You know, for the first time in years, we're talking about an economic recession. For all the time that the Republicans were in control of this House and in control of this government, we saw that they were in booming economic times. Sixteen months now into the 110th Congress in a Democrat leadership, off the map on food costs, housing costs, into recession. If that has happened in 16 months, we wonder what will happen if they have another 16 months.

So I would ask whether this Congress could do what my constituents are asking us to do. Maybe address these issues such as beach issues and where we can go on vacation, but can we do those after we get to the more seminal issues, the more fundamental issues, issues that strike at the heart of where America is living right now, issues that strike at, well, their pocketbook and where their money is really going to right now, and that is energy costs.

The other day I just drove out in my driveway of my house. I went down to the main road. And there at the gas station, the price of a gallon of diesel fuel was $4 a gallon. Amazing. $4 a gallon. That means that truckers--those same truckers who have to get down to the Jersey Shore to bring supplies and what have you for vacationers who want to enjoy the beaches and what have you--truckers, I am told, have to spend upwards of $1,000 to fill up their diesel tanks in their trucks to get about our State.

New Jersey is a commuter State. New Jersey is a hub State, a transportation State. Unless Congress is ready to commit itself to really fundamentally look at the underlying causes of the high cost of energy, of the high cost of gasoline, of the high cost of diesel fuel, unless we are ready to work across both sides of the aisle on these issues, these other issues will come to naught, will be of little importance to my constituents if they are stranded at home, if their husbands or their wives don't have jobs because they can't afford to put gas into the car or diesel into the trucks.

So I just come to the floor to raise these issues now and ask that, as important as these beach issues are, can we not really begin to address what the constituents are addressing?

Later on in the evening, I would like to say that there are some solutions, there are some solutions that the American public would like us to begin to address. There are some answers to the fundamental reasons of why the price of gasoline and diesel fuel is going through the roof. There are some basic changes that Congress, this Congress, could be making right now to the energy supply in this country that would help to drive down the cost of energy in this country so that Americans, families in my district and in yours, will be able to address this problem and not have a problem of high energy cost anymore.

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