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Public Statements

Cap and Trade

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LATTA. Congressman, thank you very much for hosting this extremely important Special Order tonight on cap-and-tax. It's an issue that I think every American had better learn about quickly.

I did a teletown hall last night, and we discussed it quite a bit because in my area we're hurting. Just to kind of give you a little bit of background on my area, according to the National Manufacturers Association, I represent the largest manufacturing district in the State of Ohio. Last summer I represented the ninth largest in Congress, but because of what's happened with the economy and jobs, I now represent the 13th largest manufacturing district in Congress.

One of the things that we hear about, as you were talking about, is what we are going to be doing about cap-and-tax in this country. It is something I think the American people need to know, if it is something we need to have. In my opinion, it will be something that will destroy jobs across this country.

You know, the Chinese were asked not too long ago, and it was reported in one of the Washington papers, what about cap-and-trade? What were they going to do about it? And they said, Well, you don't understand the situation. We only produce it. You, the United States, consume it. And if you hadn't consumed it, we wouldn't have produce it. So, therefore, you pay the tax.

I think there is a real quick answer where they are going to be coming from on this. If the United States wants to go it alone on this and say that we're going to put these standards down on the American people, on American manufacturing, we're in trouble.

What we have to do is cast our eyes across that pond and see what they did in Europe. They have what they called leakage. That leakage occurred once they started putting in their cap-and-trade policies, the next thing you knew was these companies started filtering out, leaking out, and then they started coming into the United States.

If we do this, we're going to have companies say, we can't afford it. We'll just move over. Because most of these are multinational. They'll move over into the Pacific rim, and we'll have more job losses.


Mr. LATTA. Well, what you have to do is look at this. What is this thing? We're talking about carbon, carbon credits.

To put this all into perspective, Ohio is a heavy user of coal when we turn our lights on. So if what they are saying is that we're really going to hit coal, Ohio and Indiana are going to be in deep trouble right off the bat. Indiana is even, we might say, in worse shape than we are. In Ohio about 87 percent of our usage to turn on our lights every day and run our factories is coal generated.

Mr. AKIN. Let me reclaim my time. What we have here in the State of Ohio and many other heavy manufacturing States, which is the backbone of a major part of industry in America, you have, first of all, heavy industry or manufacturing, and that has the unique characteristic that it uses a lot of electricity, some more so than others. And you also have the unique characteristic that you're burning a lot of coal, and therefore, you will have to pay a whole lot of taxes on the energy that's generated off of the coal.

So you put those two things together, it says, now those businesses are no longer competitive because they're getting taxed more and more and more on the profits that they're making, which has the effect of making those companies have an economic reason to move somewhere else. And that's what you're concerned with, is that correct?

Mr. LATTA. I thank the gentleman for yielding. Again, you are absolutely correct.

What will happen is this: I represent an area that manufactures. We have General Motors. We have Chrysler. We make washing machines. We make furniture. We make all kinds of things in my district. Brass fittings. But

when you implement this tax, this cost is going to be passed on from the utility companies to the manufacturers. And the next thing that will happen is, these companies are going to have a very hard time competing within a global economy.

I was in one of my district counties several weeks ago and went into one of the plants. They showed me two things. They said, this is the brass fitting that we make. This is the brass fitting that they make in China. You know, for like 45 cents they can do it over there, and it may cost us $3 or $4 to make the same type of product here.

The whole idea of putting cap-and-trade and raising this tax and passing it on to the manufacturers, we're not going to have any jobs left, not only in the 5th Congressional District but across the Midwest because with our heavy coal usage and with the number of manufacturing jobs.

The Heritage Foundation recently put out a study. What they did was, they looked at all 435 congressional districts. And what they said was, okay, we're going to look at the number of manufacturing jobs you have, and now we're going to also look at how much power usage is from coal, et cetera, going right down to natural gas through nuclear.

I have what you might consider the third worst district in the United States, according to the Heritage Foundation, when it comes to cap-and-trade because of the cost it will be to do business in my district.

I have companies in my district, because they use so much energy, a slight blip will make them have to think, is it even worth manufacturing in this country anymore?

We're in a tough recession right now. But one of the things that we have to look at right now is going back to the late seventies, early eighties into that recession. But the United States, people said, you know what, we're going to get out of that thing because we knew that those factories were going to start back up. But today we don't know that because when I go through these factories, and they take me in and say, you know, we only have a third of our factory running, or I hear today that one large company might have 50 percent of their workforce laid off, a huge company.


r. LATTA. Thank you very much for yielding.

Just to follow up on your conversation right there, we do have such great resources in this country. We have almost 25 percent of the world's coal. We ought to be using it. And it's that clean coal technology. We ought to have those contests out there. There are people in my district right now that are working on clean coal, but they are always being beaten down because they hear things coming out of Washington saying absolutely not, we're not going to have clean coal because we'll tax you out of existence. So who wants to use it?

So, you know, when you look at what we have in our country, we have all these resources. We have oil. We have natural gas. We have the coal. We should be developing nuclear. We haven't had a new nuclear power plant sited since 1977, and our competitors in the world like the Chinese are looking at 35 to 40 in the next 25 to 30 years. That's not sustainable.


Mr. LATTA. I'm still looking for the logic because, you know, we have all these resources. We have all this technology, but we're not using it. And we are all for, I think, on our side of the aisle what we call the ``all-of-the-above'' policy, all these things I just rattled off for using. In my district they manufacture solar panels. I'm going to have two companies by the end of the year manufacturing solar panels. We have the ability for wind, and we have everything from ethanol to biodiesel and we're looking at hydrogen down the road. But we need to be doing all of the above.

Right now I am getting calls from my constituents and they're saying, Bob, how come the gas prices are going up 30 cents in 1 week?

And I said, Well, gasoline is over $60 a barrel again.

And people are going to start watching it go up and up and up. And the same thing that's going to come is how are we going to pay for this, this, or this, and we're going to have to say we're not going to buy this.


Mr. LATTA. I tell you, the discussion that we are having right now boils down to one thing, that this cap-and-tax is going to cost this country jobs.

And I am sure everyone in this body speaks at their local schools every month. I am going to be speaking at graduation this weekend at one of my colleges. What do you tell these students that are graduating? They have this great opportunity, that you are going to have the same chance that we had, that your grandparents had? Or are we going to tell them, You know what? It's going to be tough out there. Maybe you won't find a job.

You know, when you hear more and more that parents are worried that when their kids graduate from college, what do they do? They move home. There is no place for them to go. There are no jobs.

One of the things that I think we have to remember in this whole debate, this is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. And one of the things that people kind of also have to remember is that government does not create a single job. This government consumes wealth. The only avenue that we have out there to produce wealth in this country is through business.

And if businesses aren't able to operate, if they can't turn the lights on because it's too expensive, and day in and day out I am hearing from my constituents, I hearing from companies across the State of Ohio, they are saying, if this goes in, we don't know how we are going to literally keep the lights on.


Mr. LATTA. I thank the gentleman. I will be brief. Time is short for this country. We have folks out there that need jobs--and they need them today. We have been in a tough recession.

Back in 1982, when we were coming out of that recession folks were confident that those factories were going to open back up; that those doors would be open and those jobs would be there. Today, a lot of those jobs are gone. We're in a tough economic environment. We're in a tough global environment--the competition is tough.

If we want to make sure that we can compete in this country and we can make sure that we have those jobs in this country to compete against the rest of the world, we have to make sure that we have the costs down. If we go through this cap-and-tax, it's going to be a bad day for America.

I just want to thank the gentleman for hosting this tonight. We're going to be talking about this not only here in Congress, but across our districts in the coming days.

Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time, I am just so delighted with our guests here on the floor. You know, the common sense in me can't resist showing this little chart. How much does a human activity affect greenhouse gases? Well, if this block represents greenhouse gases right here, then CO

2 is those yellow boxes. That's the amount of greenhouse gas that's heating the world by CO

2. The rest of this is other things that are heating the world. Then, this is the amount that's caused by people. So this seems to be an awful big tax for such a little tiny box.

I want to once again thank my good friends, Congresswoman Bachmann from Minnesota and Congressman Latta from Ohio and Congressman Bishop from Utah for joining us. I hope that this has been as informative and interesting for everybody else as much as it was for me.

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