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Public Statements

Rising Gas Prices

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCALISE. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding. I appreciate the hard work that you have been doing for years, as I have, on this issue. I appreciate the comments from my colleague from Illinois who just talked about just what is happening here.

In the last 2 weeks we were in our districts, and I got the opportunity to go through parts of my district. When you talk to people about what is happening in this country with the economy, the biggest question that comes up, beyond the short-term issues of the economy and jobs, is the high price of gasoline, and just why is it that right now people are paying almost $4, if not $5 in some parts of the country, $5 per gallon for gasoline, and we are still not even into the heart of the summer.

It is very clear as people look, it is very clear that the policies of this administration that have completely shut off our ability to produce, go and explore for and produce energy in America, is one of the main contributing factors to this high price of gasoline.

Of course, you don't have to go far in south Louisiana to see the direct impact because, as my colleague from Georgia just pointed out, not only the moratorium that was imposed about a year ago, but the permatorium that we are still experiencing today, where the administration won't let our people go back to work exploring safely for energy, people that had absolutely nothing to do with the BP explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, people in much deeper waters, drilling safely back then that now cannot go back to work.

We have lost over 13,000 jobs in the energy industry in south Louisiana in the past year specifically because of President Obama's policies that have shut those areas down. It has literally run thousands of jobs, 13,000 by the White House's estimates--we think the number is much higher, but I will just use the White House's numbers--13,000 people in this country who have lost their job in the energy industry, high-paying jobs, by the way, that have gone to foreign countries.

We have tracked some of these deepwater rigs that have left. Of course, the President goes to Rio de Janeiro a few weeks ago and brags that he wants to drill in Brazil. I would suggest, Mr. President, let's drill in America safely, where we know there are billions of barrels of oil here in this country, where we can create thousands of high-paying jobs and generate billions of dollars that the Federal Treasury would take in because of all that economic activity and the royalties that would be paid by those oil companies, that would lower our deficit. And yet, no, the President says we want to shut you down and put your people out of work, but we want to go and spend our resources drilling in Brazil.

This is the backward policy that this administration has pursued that has gotten us to this point where we are paying over $5 in some places in this country--$4, close to $4 in my district--for a gallon of gasoline, and we are not even in the heart of the summer.

So then when you look at what the administration's plan is. Clearly, our plan is we want to let our people go back to work exploring and drilling safely for energy, creating thousands of good jobs, bringing all that tax revenue into this country to lower our deficit. But the Presidents's answer, is, you would think maybe he would be agreeing on us with this. This should be a bipartisan issue, there is bipartisan support, by the way, to do what my colleague from Georgia and I are talking about, but the President not only doesn't support our plan, but the President's proposal is to raise taxes on American energy.

He goes out, and I guess every time he speaks he wants to go and beat up on an American industry, and right now it is the oil companies. Well, frankly, the oil companies that are out there right now, many of them are producing in other countries. But our local producers, the small businesses, these aren't the big guys. These are the small businesses that are barely hanging on by a thread, struggling to survive, that he would be shutting down by raising taxes. His plan is to raise $22 billion in taxes on American energy production.

Now, his plan, by the way, coincidentally, doesn't apply to foreign countries. So when he goes to Rio and says ``drill in Brazil,'' his package that he actually has asked Congress to pass, and I sure hope we don't pass it, but his package not only raises taxes on American energy. That same tax increase doesn't apply to the drilling in Brazil or in Saudi Arabia or some of these other Middle Eastern countries that use that money to do things that are counterproductive not only to American energy security, but our homeland security.

So the President would say to raise $22 billion in taxes on American energy production, which, by the way, runs even thousands more jobs out of our country and increases our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. This is counterproductive policy, but that is the President's answer to high gas taxes, is to raise taxes on American energy, which means higher prices at the pump. And, by the way, we are already paying too much at the pump. Gas prices have more than doubled since President Obama took office.

It is not just bad luck that gives us high gas prices. It is bad policy that comes out of Washington, D.C. That is why I really appreciate the gentleman from Georgia bringing us here tonight. But also the legislation that we will be voting on tomorrow that actually starts to address this problem and says, you know what, if people in America want to safely explore for and produce energy here in America, we are going to let them do that. We are going to let them go to work here so that we don't send those jobs and those billions of dollars to countries like Brazil, and, even worse, Middle Eastern countries who want to do us harm.

So clearly the policy impacts the price of gas we are paying at the pump. We have got to reverse these policies that make absolutely no sense that are coming out of this White House and get back to an all-of-the-above strategy that actually allows us to utilize our resources here in America in a safe way, that produces thousands of good-paying jobs and brings billions more dollars into the Federal Treasury to pay down the national debt.


Mr. SCALISE. I appreciate the gentleman yielding. This mantra that's thrown out there, frankly, for over 2 years now, yourself, myself, we've been clamoring for policies that actually create jobs. And then when we bring forward legislation, actual bills--not to run up the deficit like our colleagues on the other side, not to run more jobs out of our country like our colleagues on the other side--but when we actually bring bills to say, Stop the madness, change these policies and bring that work back to America, create those jobs here, bring in that revenue here, they actually criticize us and say that has nothing to do with jobs.

Well, it shows, first of all, that they're out of touch. They don't understand how job creation works in this country. But they also, obviously, haven't been tracking the history; tracking exactly what's happening all across America, but especially in using the areas around southeast Louisiana as the prime example. You don't have to go any further than to go down to south Louisiana and you'll see the job losses that have occurred because of this administration's policies which have, one, shut off American energy production, which have led to higher gas prices, but also run thousands of high-paying jobs out of America. We've tracked those rigs, those deepwater rigs, which each of them is about a billion-dollar asset. So you have got an American employer that said, You know what; I can't even do business in America any more with my billion-dollar asset. I've got to move it somewhere else; to a foreign country. One of those rigs went to Egypt. I think we all know what's going on in Egypt right now.

Isn't it a sad indictment on this administration's failed energy policy that an American employer would say I think it's better to do business with my billion-dollar asset, to bring that asset over to Egypt and take the chances over there because of how bad the environment is business-wise in America. By the way, that one rig--and there are multiple rigs that have left our country--that one rig that went to Egypt is representing about a thousand high-paying jobs that are no longer here in America, that are no longer here in America, that are now in Egypt. I think that's a shame. It shows the failure of this administration's policies and it's the reason why--one of the few, but an absolute reason why--American families all across this country are paying higher gas prices at the pump. And there's no reason for it. We can reverse it. We need to reverse it.

I'm glad your committee passed legislation that we'll be voting on tomorrow. I know in our Committee on Energy and Commerce we're working on similar solutions. I think American people want as many solutions as possible. But at least we're finally putting solutions on the table to say, Mr. President, your plan might be to raise taxes on American energy and raise the price of gas at the pump. We've got a different approach. The House Republicans here, and hopefully Senators, will understand and push this issue. But our approach is to lower gas prices by increasing the supply here in America so that we're energy secure, we don't have to rely on these Middle Eastern countries, and we don't have to send our jobs and billions of dollars to those Middle Eastern countries, which jeopardize our security here at home, which as a member of the Homeland Security I know you know about very well, too.


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