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Statement on Gas Prices and Energy in the 14th District

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

STATEMENT ON GAS PRICES AND ENERGY IN THE 14TH DISTRICT -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 29, 2008)


* Mr. FOSTER. Madam Speaker, I am submitting this statement to record my strong and enthusiastic support for achieving independence from foreign oil, continuing our work in moving forward on comprehensive energy policy reform, and finding new alternatives to develop cheap, clean, and renewable energy. Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan, comprehensive energy bill, which I had the honor of supporting. But when it comes to providing more solutions to overcome our energy crisis, there is still much more to be done.

* Earlier this month, on Labor Day, I met with constituents from Illinois' 14th District at the DeKalb Oasis on Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway to hear what they had to say about how gas prices and our current energy policy affected them.

* While passing the Passing the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act was an excellent first step, I firmly believe that we need more relief from high gas prices, and we need a comprehensive energy policy overhaul that provides solutions for the short, medium, and long term. As statements from my constituents show, I am not alone in this concern.

* Much of what I heard was familiar. They told me gas prices are too much and are spiraling out of control. They told me they are forced to make new, tough choices as consumers on groceries, transportation, and the other costs of daily life. They told me while they try to cut their spending, there is almost nothing left to cut. They told me that because of gas prices they have to work more at a second job, or the business that employs them can no longer do so because business costs are increasing as well.

* I am entering some of what I heard on Labor Day into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD not because the testimony I heard is a surprise, but because it is a wake-up call. We need more bipartisan solutions, and need them now. We cannot afford to wait. I have repeatedly shown my support for solutions that increase supply, and decrease demand while also pursuing research and development of clean, affordable, alternative energy sources that would make our Nation energy independent. These are solutions I supported when I voted for the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act, and these are solutions I firmly believe we should continue to pursue.

* Here are some things I heard from constituent about how gas and energy prices are affecting them.

* ``How are gas prices affecting my family? Well, first of all I am an educator who could not afford to have a family, not even years ago ..... I have a full-time job, and I now have three part-time jobs so I can pay all my bills. I cut back on travel expenses, which is one expense I could control. I am working more hours at one of my part-time jobs. I never forgot lesson taught by President Carter--I keep my house in the 60s during the winter and 80 degrees in the summer. I do everything I can to keep the house insulated in the summer and winter. I cut back on eating out and on food expenses in general, but not to the point of knowingly putting my health at risk by eating cheaper, but fatty foods.''--Kay, DeKalb, IL

* ``I actually have a car at home, well kind of I paid for half of the vehicle. My sister was driving it while I was here at school, and now that my sister has gone away to college my parents are just taking us off the insurance. They're just keeping the car in the garage,'' Amanda, of DeKalb, IL, explained to me.

* I asked her why she left her car unused. She said it was an expense she could not afford.

* ``My parents don't think I'd be able to maintain working and paying for the high prices of gas, but you know everything with having to maintain repairs, whatever need be but that gets really expensive so we just thought it would be better off not doing anything.''

* Amanda was not alone in finding that gas prices and college-related costs very limiting. Gas prices restricted her roommate's options in commuting as well as compounding other expenses like the cost of school and raising a family.

* ``It's just shopping and whatever, I would like to go home. NIU is nicknamed the suitcase school because so many kids just come for the week and then they go home, but I don't have the ability to do that, I can't go back and work all the time because everything is expensive,'' Hillary, DeKalb, IL, said.

* Hillary pointed out another common sentiment is not just the cost increase of gas prices, but also the speed at which they increased.

* ``It's kind of a gradual thing of course; our economy being in the status that it is right now and with gas prices rising. It's like everything is happening at once,'' Hillary continued. ``My tuition has gone up and Northern was actually the only school I could afford, even though I'm a veteran. This is the only school that I could afford, and then on top of that, it's like tuition is rising. My mom is a single mom with a bunch of kids, with gas prices and everything--it's hard.''

* I am proud to submit the concerns of my constituents into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD for all to see, hear, and recognize.

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