PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 6842, NATIONAL CAPITAL SECURITY AND SAFETY ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 16, 2008)
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Mr. PENCE. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Texas for his leadership and for yielding this time.
And I rise to oppose this rule. I support the Childers amendment in the form of a substitute. I am left to wonder, as I'm sure any of our countrymen looking in are wondering why, after only learning of the Democrat's energy bill last night at 9:45 on the House, we have taken some sort of a timeout from a contentious, and I thought, substantive debate on the Democrat energy bill that will be brought up, I assume, within an hour.
The Supreme Court of the United States has already ruled on this issue. I understand there is some disagreement in the Democrat majority over how it's to be handled from a funding standpoint, but what I don't understand is the timing.
Mr. Speaker, to be honest with you, I look across this aisle, I see men and women that I respect deeply and with whom I have worked on issues, sometimes in nontraditional ways. And so I would not accuse my colleagues that are here on the floor doing their duty of any ill motive. But I have to wonder about a Democrat majority that introduces this discussion about gun control on the one and only day that they are going to permit us to debate their energy bill.
And I think the American people are entitled to know, Mr. Speaker, the Democrat Party in the Congress, after spending the last 20 months telling their constituency and the American people that there would never be a vote allowed on this floor that would permit more domestic drilling, abruptly announced last week that they were going to bring an energy bill to the floor with drilling.
Now for those of us who have been clamoring for a comprehensive energy bill that included more drilling, more conservation, more fuel efficiency, solar, wind, nuclear, this was welcome news. And imagine how anxious we were late last week to wait for the Democrat bill to be filed, assuming we would have the weekend to examine it.
And as we waited throughout the first day of the week yesterday, it wasn't until 9:45 last night that a 290-page bill was filed on this floor. And we found that the drill-nothing Congress has introduced legislation that is essentially a drill-almost-nothing bill; and I want to speak about that in the very limited time that we have.
So while I oppose the rule, I want to speak about what is bearing upon the American people, bearing upon American families and school systems and seniors, and that is the unbridled and unprecedented weight of the cost of energy in America.
As Wall Street reels from another financial crisis, as we hear unemployment numbers that are heartbreaking to real working Americans, most Americans know the high cost of energy is costing American jobs.
And so on the one day that the Democrat majority will allow us to debate their comprehensive strategy for energy independence, I want to speak about what the substance of that bill is.
Now, as I said, the drill-nothing Democrat Congress announced they were going to bring this energy bill to the floor. It includes more drilling, and now many of them have said in many corners of the national media that Republicans have to take ``yes'' for an answer. Well, I would suggest to my countrymen, before you sign a contract, read the fine print.
The fine print of this contract is profoundly disappointing to those of us that were looking to give the bipartisan majority of this Congress that supports a comprehensive energy strategy, that includes a real access to America's domestic reserves, a fair up-or-down vote.
The drill-nothing Democratic Congress is essentially, as I said, a basically drill-almost-nothing. Here's some examples. They say ``yes'' to drilling in their bill but not in Alaska, not in the eastern gulf and not within 50 miles of our country.
They say ``yes'' to drilling in the bill, but they say States can decide on whether we drill off their coasts, but we will give the States no revenues whatsoever for allowing us to drill. The Governor of a coastal State was on the floor of the Congress today. When I said, ``What's the likelihood that your State will permit drilling if we offer your State legislature no revenues from the drilling in your waters?'' And he only laughed out loud.
I assume that the Democrat majority, in saying that unlike the Gulf States that get some 39 percent of the revenues that are drilled in their waters under existing agreements, I assume the Democrat majority believes that States will opt in to drilling out of the goodness of their hearts, out of their patriotism. Maybe not.
They say ``yes'' to drilling, but the lack of litigation reform will allow environmental lawyers to swarm over any new leases, even those that are permitted more than 50 miles out, and they'll be tied up in court for years before a single drop is pumped.
In their legislation, there's a renewable mandate that literally could cause electrical rates between now and 2012 to skyrocket on working Americans. There's no commitment to increasing our refinery capacity. There's huge tax increases on oil companies. As I've asked before to my citizens in Indiana, ``Who among you thinks by raising taxes on oil companies you're going to lower the price of gasoline at the pump?'' That's usually a laugh out loud moment in town hall meetings. That's what passes for the Democrat bill.
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Mr. PENCE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I say to my Democrat colleagues, many of whom I respect deeply and with whom I work on a broad range of issues, on behalf of our constituents that are struggling under the weight of record gasoline prices, don't do this. Don't do it this way. This Congress is better than that.
We have a bipartisan majority in this Congress, including some men and women that I am looking at right now, who, if given the opportunity, would come together in a bipartisan way and pass legislation that said ``yes'' to more real drilling, but also ``yes'' to conservation, ``yes'' to fuel efficiency, ``yes'' to solar and wind and nuclear. But we can't say ``yes'' with a backroom deal brought to the floor of the Congress, given one day of debate, no amendments, and jammed through the American people.
Let's end the charade. Let's stop playing politics with American energy independence. Let this Congress work its will, and we will come together on a strategy that works for all of our Nation.
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