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Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 257 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
H. Res. 257
Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1231) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that each 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, to establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Natural Resources. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. The amendment recommended by the Committee on Natural Resources now printed in the bill shall be considered as adopted in the House and in the Committee of the Whole. The bill, as amended, shall be considered as read. All points of order against provisions in the bill, as amended, are waived. No further amendment to the bill, as amended, shall be in order except those printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution. Each further amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such further amendments are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill, as amended, to the House with such further amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New York is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?
There was no objection.
Mr. REED. House Resolution 257 provides for a structured rule for consideration of H.R. 1231. The rule makes in order eight amendments, all of which comply with the rules of the House. Of the eight, seven are Democratic amendments.
Mr. Speaker, today we are debating H.R. 1231, the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act. This legislation, which will have profound impacts on our domestic energy supply, our national security, and our economy, is ripe for consideration by this body. It is no secret that Americans are feeling the pain at the pump. In my congressional district in western New York, my constituents, my family, my wife and I are routinely forced to pay in excess of $4 per gallon for gasoline for automobiles. We need to develop policies that will lessen our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, create stability in the financial markets, and provide relief to our constituents. In addition, this piece of legislation will create American jobs.
We must get our financial and energy priorities in order. We can no longer be held victim to instability in the Middle East and across the world. The United States must develop our own energy solutions which will reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels.
Most importantly, this will create American jobs. H.R. 1231 is one more example of our conference's commitment to developing domestic natural oil and gas resources. It adopts a philosophy that we need to drill smart, drill where the resources are, and produce our own energy.
Drilling for oil and natural gas can be done safely and responsibly. There have been millions of wells drilled in the United States. There is a strong record of sound environmental practices. Total petroleum industry spillage has decreased consistently over the last 40 years.
H.R. 1231 does two things. First, the legislation requires that in developing a 5-year offshore leasing plan for drilling the Outer Continental Shelf, that each 5-year plan must include leases for sale in the areas containing the greatest known oil and natural gas reserves. For the 2012-2017 plan being written by the Obama administration, this would mean targeted lease sales only in those areas estimated to contain 2.5 billion barrels of oil or 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. At least 50 percent of those areas must be made available for leasing in the 2012-2017 plan.
Second, this legislation requires the implementation of production goals during the 5-year plan being written by the Obama administration. For this period, the goal would be 3 million barrels of oil per day and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from American domestic sources of energy. This increase in oil production equates to a tripling of current American offshore production and will reduce significantly foreign imports by nearly one-third. Most importantly, this will create American jobs and protect our national security interests.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. McGOVERN. I thank the gentleman from New York for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to this rule and very strong opposition to the underlying legislation.
Here we go again. Another week. Another day. Another bill that helps record profit-making Big Oil but does absolutely nothing to help American families paying $4 at the pump for gasoline. Although Republicans continue to frame these efforts as a cure for rising gas prices and a way to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, the truth is that oil prices are set on a world market. It's simply not possible for us to drill our way out of these problems.
Yesterday, in the Rules Committee I offered an amendment as a stand-alone bill, again, that would eliminate subsidies for Big Oil. While I do not agree with H.R. 1231, my amendment would have done nothing to prevent this bill from moving forward. Instead, my amendment would have allowed for a separate bill to come up under this rule that would end subsidies for big oil corporations that are making money hand over fist while gouging Americans at the pump.
Let me remind my Republican colleagues of the facts. Two weeks ago, ExxonMobil announced that in the first 3 months of this year it had made nearly $10.7 billion in profits. That's $10.7 billion. Billion with a B. There's nothing wrong with corporations making profits. That's what they're in business to do. What is wrong is for American taxpayers to be subsidizing wildly profitable companies at a time when too many Americans are still unemployed and struggling to pay their bills. With their tax dollars funding corporate welfare for Big Oil and then still paying astronomical prices at the pump, it's a double whammy for American families. With all the talk of cutting spending and reducing subsidies here in Washington, I would have thought that the Rules Committee would have made my amendment in order.
Mr. Speaker, I want to remind my colleagues that energy companies are sitting on thousands of drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and they're not producing anything. And despite the misleading title of this legislation, no drilling moratorium currently exists. Since October 2010, when the drilling moratorium was lifted, 39 shallow water and 10 deepwater permits have been granted, roughly the same average rate even before the BP oil spill.
Mr. Speaker, while H.R. 1231 may make for a good sound bite, this is not a serious solution to bringing down high gas prices. I urge my colleagues to oppose this rule and to oppose H.R. 1231.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield such time as he may consume to the chairman of the Rules Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier).
(Mr. DREIER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking my friend, the newest member of the Rules Committee, the gentleman from Corning, New York, for a superb job in the way he has comported himself in the management of this rule and for his great service on the Rules Committee. He has literally hit the ground running, and this is the third bill that he's managed, the second rule, on the House floor, and I congratulate him for that.
Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of my friend from Worcester, and I will say that this measure that's before us is about several things. Number one, job creation and economic growth is something that Democrats and Republicans alike say that they are concerned about; and that happens to be, continues to be, our priority.
Creating jobs for the American people who are hurting right now is what this bill is all about and, at the same time, the notion of trying to free ourselves or at least diminish the kind of dependence that we have on foreign oil. I don't personally believe that we ever in this global economy should be completely free of the flow of energy and other sources, but I do believe that we can take steps that will diminish the level of dependence that we have on sources of energy outside of our country. And that's what this measure is designed to do.
I also want to touch on the very important question that was raised by my friend about the issue of subsidization by the American taxpayer of the energy industry. And I know that my friend likes to say, well, the Rules Committee can just take care of this in one fell swoop and make this amendment in order. And it was very interesting that our colleague from Boulder said that if it were to be considered under an open rule, he'd like to allow for consideration of a measure that would reduce the top corporate rate as we look at the issue of ending this kind of subsidization.
Well, that is a global approach that I believe needs to be looked at by the House Ways and Means Committee, by the Energy and Commerce Committee; and I'm supportive, I'm very supportive, of our doing that. But the idea of saying that we would do what my friend has proposed, actually under the provision that my friend from Boulder said that he'd support up in the Rules Committee, it's a violation of House rules.
So the idea here is we need to do what we can to diminish the level of subsidization. I personally have opposed agriculture subsidization. I'm not a proponent of subsidization of private industry. I do think that in the context of having the highest corporate tax rate of any nation in the world now that Japan has actually reduced their corporate rate, we need to look at ways in which we can bring that rate down and deal with closing loopholes. And that's something that President Obama talked about here in his State of the Union message.
So I think that if my friend would recognize that we've had opportunities to do this when they were in the majority, and we've been in session for a matter of a few months, and the idea of saying that we haven't addressed it yet on the House floor, I think, doesn't really pass the laugh test because we are right now in the process of looking at overall reform, and it will include dealing with the issue of subsidies. So I agree wholeheartedly with the need for us to step up to the plate and take this issue on.
I want to express my appreciation to the distinguished chair of the Natural Resources Committee, our friend Mr. Hastings. Unfortunately, due to an illness, he's not able to be here this week, but I spoke with him yesterday and he's doing a lot better. And he has every degree of confidence, a high level of confidence, that we're going to be able to effectively address this issue of working to drive energy prices down; to diminish the kind of dependence we have on foreign sources of energy; and the very, very important issue of creating jobs here in the United States of America, which continues to be our priority.
So I thank my friend for yielding. I encourage my colleagues to support this rule and support the underlying legislation.
And I'm happy to say that we've been able to make almost all of the amendments in order that were submitted to us as long as they comply with the rules of the House. The CutGo provision is germane. We've tried to make most of those in order, and it's a new day. We've had more amendments considered here in the first few months of this Congress than we did in the entire last Congress. So I think that this work product that we're going to have before us today is further evidence of that.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, let me just make a couple of points that a New York Times editorial, entitled ``The Return of `Drill Baby Drill' '' made, and that was that drilling alone cannot possibly ensure energy independence in a country that uses one-quarter of the world's oil while owning only 2 percent of its reserves.
The other point it makes is the Energy Information Agency recently projected what would happen if the Nation tripled production on the Outer Continental Shelf. There would be no price impact at all until 2020 and only 3 cents to 5 cents a gallon in 2030.
The bottom line is that we need an energy policy that does not rely solely on drilling for oil; and we've tried to pass a bill that would do that, only to have strong objection from my Republican colleagues.
I would also say I just want to make sure we're clear on one thing because the chairman of the Rules Committee seemed to intimate that bringing up my legislation that would allow for there to be a vote to cut taxpayer subsidies to oil companies would somehow be against the rules. It's not against the rules. It would be totally within the rules, and the Rules Committee could have made it in order.
One of the things that I hear, when I go back home, from my constituents is, Why are you cutting programs that help elderly people be able to heat their homes in the winter? Why are you cutting programs that would invest in alternative energy and at the same time you have Congress protecting taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies that are making record profits? People are outraged by that.
[From the New York Times, May 6, 2011]
The Return of ``Drill, Baby, Drill''
As President Obama observed in a March 30 address on energy issues, drilling alone cannot possibly ensure energy independence in a country that uses one-quarter of the world's oil while owning only 2 percent of its reserves. Nor can it lower prices, except at the margins. Only coordinated measures--greater auto efficiency, alternative fuels, improved mass transit--can address these issues.
Still the oil industry and its political allies persist in their fantasies. On Thursday, the House passed the first of three bills that will require the Interior Department to accelerate drilling permits without proper environmental or engineering reviews, reinstate lease sales off the Virginia coast that were canceled after the BP blowout, and open up protected coastal waters--East, West and in Alaska--to drilling.
The bills would make regulation of offshore drilling even weaker than it was before the spill. They would also do almost nothing to solve the problems of $4-a-gallon gas.
Here's the hard truth: Prices are set on the world market by the major producers, OPEC in particular. Even countries that produce more oil than they need, like Canada, have little leverage. Canada's prices track ours.
The Energy Information Agency recently projected what would happen if the nation tripled production on the outer continental shelf. There would be no price impact at all until 2020 and only 3 cents to 5 cents a gallon in 2030.
By contrast, the agency found, raising the fuel efficiency of America's cars would do real good. Increasing the fleetwide average from roughly 30 m.p.g. today to 60 m.p.g. in the next 15 years, an ambitious but not implausible goal, could bring prices down by 20 percent.
Some politicians get it. Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, is drafting a bill that seeks to repeal $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry and use the proceeds to develop more efficient cars and alternative fuel sources. Mr. Obama has tried twice, without success, to get rid of those subsidies, and the House voted in March to preserve them in the current budget.
The tax breaks--fast write-offs for drilling expenses, generous depletion allowances, and the like--may have been useful years ago but are wholly unnecessary when oil prices and industry profits are reaching new highs.
Even John Boehner, the Republican leader, conceded in a recent ABC News interview that oil companies ``ought to be paying their fair share.'' When horrified aides reminded him that ending the subsidies would amount to a tax increase--anathema among Republicans--he backed off.
Repealing these breaks would reduce the deficit and yield revenues to be invested in cleaner fuels, while having no real impact on prices. Mr. Obama may not be able to persuade the House of these simple truths. But he can and must seize whatever opportunities are offered in the Senate, involving himself, not just rhetorically, in the hard but necessary struggle for a sane energy policy.
At this time I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone).
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, the Republicans act as if they're trying to help the consumer with this legislation. But all they're really doing is helping Big Oil--bigger profits, bigger tax breaks. I mean, the first quarter earnings for the oil companies were bigger than ever, billions of dollars in profits. Even BP, even after the disaster a year ago, was still making huge profits; and, of course, we've got about $4 billion in tax breaks that the Republicans continue to give to the oil companies.
No more oil is going to be brought to market because of this legislation. As my colleague from Massachusetts said, we're talking years before any oil could be brought to market. And at the same time, we have the huge environmental risks.
The fact of the matter is that the BP oil spill a year ago showed us the environment risks that are involved with deepwater drilling. And there was a bipartisan commission that was put forward; Democrat and Republican testified before the Natural Resources Committee that I serve on. But no Republican effort is being made to implement those recommendations and say, okay, we need to do certain things before we can do offshore drilling in these deepwater areas. Nothing at all. So when you open up these areas under this legislation to new drilling, you're just inviting another BP-type spill because nothing is being done by the Republicans to prevent it.
Now, I would point out there are all kinds of leases out there now, on land, offshore, that the oil companies can drill and they're not doing it. They're just stockpiling them. There's more oil production that's been put forward in the last year or so under President Obama than ever before. So we're producing oil. No one is saying that you can't drill in the areas that are already leased. And there's more production. All we're saying is, why in the world are you risking these areas that now we know, after the BP spill, shouldn't be put into production when you've got all kinds of other opportunities out there?
Now, I offered an amendment. The chairman of the Rules Committee said that we were going to allow a lot of amendments. Well, they didn't allow my amendment; and my amendment simply said that the Atlantic coast for the next 5 years under the President's plan is off-limits because of what happened with BP and that we should keep that in place. But my amendment was not allowed in order.
What the President has done and what all of us are saying here is, in the aftermath of the BP spill, there are certain areas that shouldn't be allowed offshore production and in which the leases shouldn't go out. We learned from the BP spill that these areas should be off-limits because we are concerned about the environmental risks.
In my case in the State of New Jersey, we're talking about billions and billions of dollars in tourism related to the shore that would be put at risk if we had another oil spill. That's where the jobs are. Tourism is the number one industry in the State of New Jersey. Up and down the Atlantic coast, tourism is a huge business. It creates all kinds of jobs. What minimal jobs will be created by allowing these areas to be put out to lease and by allowing the drilling compared to the risk of the jobs that would be destroyed?
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record an editorial from the Wall Street Journal by former Democratic Member Harold Ford.
[From the Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2011]
Washington vs. Energy Security
(By Harold Ford, Jr.)
Even former President Clinton calls the Obama administration's deep water drilling policy `ridiculous.'
When President Obama introduced his energy plan in March, he pointed out that the U.S. keeps going ``from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again.''
It's true that since the Nixon administration U.S. leaders have all made the same commitment to cutting our reliance on foreign oil, finding reliable sources of clean energy, and keeping energy prices low. Yet Americans keep hearing only short-term solutions and narrowly focused rules and regulations. The U.S. still imports more than half its oil, gasoline prices are at historic highs, and consumers are paying the price.
One bipartisan policy tradition is to deny Americans the use of our own resources. President George H.W. Bush took aggressive steps to keep off-limits vast supplies of oil and gas along the coasts of California and Florida. Since then, the build-up of restrictions, limitations and bans on drilling (onshore and off) have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars while increasing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.
In the year since the Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration has put in place what is effectively a permanent moratorium on deep water drilling. It stretched out the approval process for some Gulf-region drilling permits to more than nine months, lengths that former President Bill Clinton has called ``ridiculous.''
Then there's tax policy. Why, when gas prices are climbing, would any elected official call for new taxes on energy? And characterizing legitimate tax credits as ``subsidies'' or ``loopholes'' only distracts from substantive treatment of these issues. Lawmakers misrepresent the facts when they call the manufacturing deduction known as Section 199--passed by Congress in 2004 to spur domestic job growth--a ``subsidy'' for oil and gas firms. The truth is that all U.S. manufacturers, from software producers to filmmakers and coffee roasters, are eligible for this deduction.
We won't achieve energy security by restricting our own companies from drilling or singling them out for punitive taxes. We're talking about an industry that provides millions of jobs and, for the foreseeable future, the power for our economic growth.
So our focus right now has to be to find ways to encourage domestic energy supplies, even while we encourage new sources of energy. President Obama is right that this isn't a long-term solution. But we can't lose sight of what the country needs today.
Here are a few steps to take:
First, let's conduct a comprehensive review of existing policies, rules and restrictions and root out any that needlessly hamper energy production at home. Do the existing environmental rules, for example, accurately reflect the industry's technological advancements in the ability to safely recover oil and gas supplies?
Second, let's develop the skills we need to find new and better ways to recover domestic supplies of energy--and to develop next-generation fuels to secure the future. That means encouraging more students to study math, science and other disciplines this industry needs.
And third, let's stop demonizing Big Oil to score political points. It does nothing to encourage the new talent, new ideas, and new entrepreneurs who are most likely to make breakthroughs in new sources of energy.
The kickoff of the presidential campaign season and the spike in fuel prices offer an opportunity to constructively debate a comprehensive national energy strategy. Effective policies will ensure sufficient domestic production and the healthy operation of U.S. companies abroad, which together will provide the secure, affordable energy supply that Americans need.
At this time I would like to yield 3 minutes to my good friend from Texas (Mr. Flores).
Mr. FLORES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the rule and of H.R. 1231, the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act.
When gas prices hit $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008, Congress and President Bush lifted a decades-old ban on drilling, allowing for exploration off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. However, these plans were postponed or cancelled by the Obama administration, and we are now back in the same situation of high gas prices, of squeezing the budgets of American families and small businesses. The facts are clear: The current administration is blocking American energy production and is hurting middle class America. On the other hand, they are also using American tax dollars to help offshore drilling in Brazil.
Since President Obama took office, the national average price of gasoline has nearly doubled to $4 a gallon in most States, and the energy policies of the Obama administration have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of barrels of domestic daily oil production. To make matters worse, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, offshore energy production is expected to drop 13 percent in 2011.
It is not too late to change our country's course of action and to begin to undo the damage done by these policies. The energy reserves off our coasts and under our public lands belong to the American taxpayers, and should be utilized in an efficient and environmentally safe manner to create jobs, to grow our economy, to lower energy prices, and to enhance our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
The Federal Government also has the ability to realize substantial revenues through the leasing of these areas, which will help pay down our $14 trillion national debt. According to the CBO, enacting H.R. 1231 would increase receipts to the Federal Treasury by about $800 million over the next 10 years. This important legislation will require the Obama administration to expand access to areas offshore that contain the most oil and natural gas reserves. When we do so, we will improve our energy security and grow American jobs.
I want to thank Chairman Hastings for his efforts in bringing H.R. 1231, along with two other American Energy Initiative bills, to the floor. I also would like to offer my special appreciation to Chairman Hastings for his support in allowing me to offer an amendment to H.R. 1229, which includes language from a bill I recently introduced, which extends certain leases affected by the administration's moratorium for 1 year.
I urge my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying legislation.
Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I am amazed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to be apologists for Big Oil. The fact of the matter is that Big Oil in this country is about making profits for Big Oil. They don't seem to care very much about the consumer.
I hold this chart up, Mr. Speaker, just to kind of prove a point that, notwithstanding the fact that they're raising prices on consumers, in the first quarter of this year as compared to last year, all of these oil companies--Exxon, Oxy, Conoco, Chevron, BP--all made record profits. Exxon is up 69 percent. They made $10.7 billion in profits in the first quarter.
What is particularly outrageous is they're making all this money, and my friends on the other side of the aisle continue to protect the subsidies and the tax breaks that they get. It's outrageous. They cut money for poor families who are trying to heat their homes in the winter; and on the other hand, they go out of their way to protect Big Oil from any amendments that we could bring to the floor here to be able to go after these subsidies and tax breaks.
My colleague from California, the chairman of the Rules Committee, says, oh, he's sympathetic. Well, we don't want your sympathy. We want your vote. I brought this amendment to go after the subsidies that the oil companies currently enjoy, taxpayer-funded subsidies, three times in the Rules Committee. All three times, it was voted down. So enough is enough.
In terms of this rule, I want to point out something. There was an amendment offered by the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Boswell). It was germane, and it complied with the Republicans' new cut-go rules. It simply required that anyone who gets a lease under this bill would have to give preference to hiring veterans--the men and women who we have sent over to Afghanistan and Iraq. When they come back, we ought to go out of our way to make sure they have jobs. This amendment was voted down in the Rules Committee, an amendment to help our veterans.
I mean, it is unbelievable to me that the Republicans voted this amendment down. Maybe there's a reason someone could give me on the other side of the aisle as to why this was ruled out of order. It was germane, and it complied with the cut-go rules; but the idea that we're not going out of our way to help our veterans, I think, is unconscionable.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Johnson).
Mr. JOHNSON of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in strong support of the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act, which will lift the President's ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the administration to do what my constituents in southeastern and eastern Ohio have been calling for Congress to do: open up for production the areas that contain the most oil and natural gas resources right here in America.
The hardworking people of my district have made it abundantly clear that their number one concern is the rising price of gas at the pumps. Over the past week, this side of the aisle has begun to show the American people that we are serious about addressing our energy crisis and that we will not succumb to bringing up bogus proposals that may poll well in the court of public opinion but that will only result in higher gas prices.
In 2008, our country was also experiencing record high prices at the pump, and in a logical and commonsense response to those record-high prices, that Congress and that President took action to end a decades-long drilling ban offshore by opening up new areas in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans for exploration and production. Unfortunately, this administration has reversed the will of the people, and has taken steps to reinstate this moratorium from new lease sales in these offshore areas.
Not only has the administration abandoned the plan to go forward with opening up new areas for production, but they have also cancelled previously scheduled lease sales. We are now again faced with rising prices at the pump, and instead of being able to focus on new ways to make America's energy secure, we are forced to bring up legislation that will do again what Congress did 3 years ago.
Mr. Speaker, recently, the Secretary of the Interior testified before the Natural Resources Committee. Between his testimony and answers to questions, he made it painfully obvious that this administration does not have a real national energy strategy. Today, with this legislation, we're going to help the Secretary and the administration take a big step toward developing a real energy plan for America. This legislation requires the administration and the Secretary of the Interior to set specific goals on the amount of oil and natural gas production that is estimated from each of the 5-year lease plans contained in this legislation.
During my 26-plus-year career in the United States Air Force, we set goals and objectives, and then we set out about working hard to not only meet them but to exceed them. This legislation sets the production goals at a level that is triple the level of America's current production, and it therefore reduces foreign imports by one-third.
Once this legislation is adopted, we will send a signal to the world oil markets that America means business when it comes to our energy future. I am fully confident that if we set the bar high, as this legislation does, American drive and ingenuity will rise to the occasion and will exceed this goal.
If we're going to become energy secure, Mr. Speaker, we must increase our energy production, not limit it, and we need to commit ourselves to developing our own resources. That is why I strongly support the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 10 seconds.
It appears, based on what I'm hearing here, that what the Republicans are dedicated to is helping the oil companies make more profits but doing nothing to help the consumer.
With that, I would like to yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts, the ranking member on the Resources Committee, Mr. Markey.
Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman.
So here's where we are. The Republicans--this is unbelievable--are blocking any legislation from passing that is going to have new safety rules for drilling off of the beaches of the United States 1 year after the BP spill. They're blocking any new safety legislation to make sure that the United States, which has four times the fatality rate of countries in Europe in drilling off our shores, has rules that are put on the books to make sure that those worst of all safety violators, these companies that drill off of our shores, have those new safety rules.
Number two, the Republicans are fighting any attempts to take away the $4 billion in tax breaks which the American consumer gives to the oil companies each year, even as the oil companies report ExxonMobil, $10 billion; Shell, $8 billion; BP, $7 billion; Chevron, $6 billion, et cetera, for the last 3 months. That's how much money they made. The Republicans think that's not enough money, even as people get tipped upside down and have money shaken out of their pockets at the gas pump. No, not enough money. They also need to give the oil companies tax breaks. That's the Republican perspective.
What else do they do? They also slash the renewable energy budget, the clean energy budget, by 70 percent. So you're a kid out there in America; you're in the sixth grade; you're looking to America for the 21st century.
Here's what the Republicans are doing:
They're slashing the solar and wind budget by 70 percent;
They are saying to the oil companies, you don't need any more safety off of the beaches to drill;
They're saying that your profits are not windfall profits, which, of course, they are in the oil industry.
But instead, here's what we're going to let you do:
We are going to let you drill off of the beaches of California for oil, off of the beaches of Florida for oil. We're going to let you drill off the beaches--3 miles off of the coast, by the way--off the beaches of Cape Cod, of Georges Bank. We're going to turn Georges Bank into ExxonMobil's Bank. We're going to turn, not shellfish into a product that we sell, but Shell Oil will be out there. That's the agenda for the Republican Party.
This is almost surreal that they want to take the tax breaks that the oil industry has, fight like the devil to protect them, even as they want to cut Medicare for Grandma and cut wind and solar as the energy sources for the future. It's almost like they think it's 1958 and gasoline is 28 cents a gallon and we're all cruising around pretending that we're not part of the rest of the world.
This debate today is kind of a microcosm of what's wrong with Republican policies. That before, I think; people want themselves to see oil rigs off of their beaches in California and North Carolina, in Massachusetts and Maine, the least I think that you owe these people is that you have new safety rules that reflect what happened. You have that BP commission report implemented. But you guys are just running ahead as though nothing has happened.
By the way, do you want to know what else is really wrong here? We know because of Goldman Sachs that this $20 to $30 a barrel of oil of increase in price over the last 11 weeks comes from speculators. What you're doing is you guys are trying to kneecap the speculator cops on the beat so that they're not even out there policing these speculators, and you're trying to reduce the budget for the speculator cops, the people who will be chasing down these speculators.
So it's all so ExxonMobil, it's all so Shell and BP and Chevron and ConocoPhillips--and, by the way, at least you're true to your colors. At least this is really what you believe in. You don't believe in wind and solar, so you're cutting that budget by 70 percent, and you want to open up the beaches as well for drilling in the States that don't want oil rigs off their beaches. I mean, my goodness, this is something that at least you should be able to respect.
You also disapprove the using of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a weapon to tell speculators, you could go bankrupt because we're going to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the 700 million barrels of oil that the U.S. has stored.
This is a very important debate to have. I'm glad we're having it today because this ``Drill, baby, drill'' just says, yeah, your policy is not all of the above; it's oil above all. Everything else gets defunded.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentlelady from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx).
Ms. FOXX. I thank my colleague for yielding time.
Mr. Speaker, Americans are demanding relief at the pump and for Congress to create an environment that creates jobs. Republicans are answering that demand with practical solutions that will have an immediate impact on the price of gasoline, energy security, and jobs.
Liberal Democrats are still adhering to the sort of demagoguery that may score political points with their base, but that doesn't create a single job nor does it reduce the cost of energy by 1 cent.
Republicans strongly believe that energy security depends on strong domestic energy production. The liberal Democrats and President Obama have actively blocked and delayed American energy production, destroying jobs, raising energy prices, and making the U.S. more reliant on unstable foreign countries for energy. This is hurting American families and small businesses who are vital to creating the new private sector jobs we desperately need during this time of high unemployment. The liberal proposals fail to create jobs in America but help create jobs overseas for the citizens of foreign nations.
President Obama's reckless moratorium on domestic energy production has cost the gulf coast region 12,000 jobs since it was enacted last year. His moratorium now threatens an additional loss of over 24,000 jobs in the gulf and 36,000 jobs nationwide if we do not reverse this dangerous liberal endeavor.
The Republicans believe that energy security will not only create jobs but will also help reduce the deficit. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 1231 will generate $800 million in revenue over 10 years while reducing foreign oil imports by nearly one-third.
The solution provided by the Democrat elites? More taxes, resulting in higher costs that will get passed on to American families. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says Democrat tax increases ``would make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. customers,'' and even some liberals admit ``it would cost thousands of jobs.''
Renowned economist Dr. Joseph Mason has stated that Republican proposals for domestic energy production will create 1.2 million American jobs.
If the liberal Democrats care about our energy security, prices at the pump, job creation, and strengthening our domestic energy capability, they would join Republicans in supporting this rule and the underlying bill.
Mr. Speaker, American families cannot wait any longer for relief at the pump. American families cannot wait any longer for jobs. If you stand with American families, if you stand with American energy security, and if you stand for job creation in America, I urge my colleagues to support this rule and the underlying bill.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield myself 10 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, my colleague on the Rules Committee talked about all the people she stands with. I want to know why she didn't stand with the veterans last night when we had a vote that would help make sure our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan would have preference in terms of these so-called new jobs that were going to be created. I find it unconscionable that the Rules Committee did not make that amendment in order, the Boswell amendment.
At this time, I would like to yield 2 1/2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Hirono).
Ms. HIRONO. Yes, indeed, the taxpayers are waiting for relief at the pump, but this bill is not it. I rise in opposition to this rule and to H.R. 1231.
Once again the House will vote on Republican legislation that takes a ``let's put all our eggs in one basket'' approach to our national energy policy. And what's their answer to high gas prices? Drill for more oil offshore, and preserve taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil. Big Oil gets $4 billion in subsidies from us taxpayers. This helped them rake in $35 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011 alone. Meanwhile, my taxpayers in Hana, Maui, have to pay over $6 per gallon to fill up their cars to go to work. Do these taxpayers get a subsidy? No. People in Hawaii pay the highest gas prices in the country. When I was in Hawaii recently, my constituents were astonished to hear about the record profits and continuing subsidies that are provided to Big Oil.
At the same time that the Republican majority is defending subsidies for oil companies which don't lower the price at the pump, they're also working to cut Federal funding for clean, alternative energy, public transit, and energy efficient programs. They also, adding insult to injury, want to disarm the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is the main cop on the beat when it comes to oil speculation. Republicans also want to pretend that there are no consequences to the near indiscriminate drilling authorized by these bills. Less than a year after the catastrophic BP oil spill, which was caused by lax regulation of a dangerous industry, they want us to undo the reforms that have been made. And for what?
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration estimates that drilling authorized by these bills may lead to a measly 1.6 percent increase in domestic energy production from 2012 to 2030. That is not a prescription for relieving pain at the pump in the short term, and it's a poor strategy for long-term energy security. Instead, we need to invest in fuel-efficient technologies and expand our transportation options. We need to focus on harnessing clean alternative energy sources, and that way, we can leave our children a cleaner, healthier planet and wean ourselves from foreign oil. I urge my colleagues to vote against this rule and against this drill-only bill.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, can I respectfully ask how much time remains on each side?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New York has 13 minutes. The gentleman from Massachusetts has 12 1/2 minutes.
Mr. REED. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
At this time, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to my good friend from California (Mr. Denham).
Mr. DENHAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I rise today in support of the rule and the underlying legislation. The rule we have before us today allows for an open process and provides this body the opportunity to debate an issue of increasing importance to our constituents back home. The future of our energy policy in this country is at stake here today, which is why I'm proud to cosponsor this bill reversing the President's offshore drilling moratorium.
This past weekend, I visited with a number of constituents at gas stations throughout my district. Some are asking, Will we get to $5 gas prices? If you come to my district, we're already there. I visited Wawona, California, last week. Everybody likes to talk about tourism. In California, we've got a great deal of tourism. But everybody that I talked to at that pump said, We planned this trip quite a while ago. We can't afford to do it today. We wouldn't have done it had we known gas prices would have been this high. Well, gas prices are still going up. We're afraid that in Wawona, we'll see $6 gas prices. You want to affect tourism, try hitting America's pocketbook at $6 a gallon.
But it's not just tourism. If you go to one of the farms in my district, diesel gas has gone up. If you are frustrated about paying higher gas prices, wait until you pay higher grocery prices, because in California's great ag economy, the prices are going up. In fact, some crops are going to stay in the field this year just because we can't afford the gas to bring them to market.
Parents are feeling the same thing. You know, as I'm going to swim practice over the weekend, talking to parents, they are frustrated about just being able to get their kids to school every day. You think this bill won't do something for gas prices? It's common sense to know if we've got a greater supply here in our great Nation, gas prices are going to go down. We want American jobs. We want to be self-reliant.
We talk about veterans here on this floor. I am a veteran. I served my country. I don't want to be reliant on foreign oil anymore.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.
Mr. DENHAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
A lot is always talked about us utilizing 25 percent of the world's gas. And where we disagree is the number of 2 percent of the world's oil. It's not a disagreement. The fact is, we've got 65 percent of the world's reserves between our oil shale. You just have to be willing to go get it. Natural gas, we want to use natural gas. Let's utilize our own natural gas. We have some of the largest oil reserves in the world. We just have to be willing to have American jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield myself 10 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, this bill does absolutely nothing to lower gas prices, and it does everything to increase profits for the big oil companies. Again, I repeat the question that I have been asking over and over again: why was the amendment that would help our veterans get jobs on their return from Iraq and Afghanistan defeated in the Rules Committee? I have no idea why.
At this point, I would like to yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Peters).
Mr. PETERS. I thank my friend from Massachusetts for yielding me time, and I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question.
The bills proposed by the Republican leadership today, H.R. 1229 and H.R. 1231, do nothing to lower the high gas prices burdening America's families today. That's why I will be offering legislation that will produce real fuel savings for consumers, reduce our dependence on imported oil, and stimulate American manufacturing.
The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act proposes real solutions to high gas prices by helping America develop the next generation of high-tech fuel-efficient vehicles. I hope my colleagues will see that this is a better alternative to the bills that are being voted on today.
First, this bill has broad support, unlike the Republican measures before us. My bill passed last Congress with a bipartisan majority. A majority of the Members in the House today have already voted in favor of this legislation. Unlike the Republican bills, this legislation is supported by both business groups, like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, as well as the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club, proving that you can support the economy while also protecting the environment.
Second, this bill will quickly result in real cost savings to consumers. Technologies have already been developed to achieve remarkable fuel savings, and putting more money into R&D increases the speed in which new technologies can be adapted and used. Unlike the Republican drilling plan, which will take nearly a decade to produce results, technologies being developed today can be commercialized and put into cars in the very near future. I have visited auto companies and suppliers in my district and have seen firsthand the level of technological advancement. For example, they have technologies that are ready to be commercialized that can improve efficiency by 30 percent and sometimes more. That means you can drive your car 30 percent further on the same tank of gas. That represents real savings to consumers.
A large focus of this bill is on commercializing those technologies so that they can be brought to consumers and start reducing gas bills today, not 10 years from now. This bill also targets fuel savings in medium- and heavy-duty trucks. It's widely known that there are huge efficiency gains to be made in these vehicles. By placing a greater focus on research and development in this area, we can achieve the greatest bang for the buck. More efficient trucks also yield consumer savings because it will reduce transportation costs of food and other goods that we buy at the store. The fuel savings we receive from these technological advancements in cars and trucks will have a national security benefit as well. Simply put, the bill reduces the amount of oil we import from unfriendly nations. Sixty percent of our petroleum needs today are met by imported supplies. Reducing the demand for imported oil is one of the best ways to meet our energy independence goals and end the immense transfer of American dollars to undemocratic and unfriendly nations.
Finally, the legislation supports American manufacturing and high-paying jobs. Rising gas prices are going to drive up demand for advanced vehicles around the world, and it is in our national interest to ensure that the research, development, and manufacturing happens right here in the United States. That's why this bill was included in the Make It in America agenda, a plan to rebuild American manufacturing and create well-paying jobs, unveiled by House Democrats and Democratic Whip HOYER last week.
The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act epitomizes the goals of Make It in America by ensuring that our country remains a leader in producing the cars and trucks of the future and supporting high-tech research and engineering jobs right here at home.
Fuel-efficient vehicle research is a win/win for our economy. It creates jobs and makes transportation more affordable for American families.
There is no doubt in the years ahead that more Americans will be driving hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and cars and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel or natural gas. The only question is whether these new technologies will be researched, developed and manufactured here in the United States or overseas.
At the same time, domestic automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers have increasingly limited resources for research and development of advanced technologies. That's why the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act will create partnerships between the Department of Energy and private companies, and ensure that the American automobile industry and manufacturing base will continue to be globally competitive and that, as a Nation, we will not trade our dependence for foreign oil for a dependence on foreign batteries and other emerging technologies.
This bill does what the American people expect from us. It bridges the partisan and ideological divide.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield the gentleman an additional minute.
Mr. PETERS. It's legislation that has support from the business community, the environmental community and the labor movement. We must stop voting on bills like the ones the majority is offering that pit priorities against each other, and, instead, we need to move legislation like my bill that brings our priorities together.
This legislation will lower costs for consumers, reduce the amount of oil we import from countries that don't like us, and create and sustain manufacturing and R&D jobs here in the United States.
I urge a ``no'' vote on the previous question so that we can support this legislation to Make It in America.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Southerland).
(Mr. SOUTHERLAND asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SOUTHERLAND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the American families, the farmers and the fishermen, especially those across north Florida and northwest Florida who are being crushed today by these incredibly high rising fuel costs.
I represent and I am privileged to represent the largest land mass district in Florida, and I'll tell you, those that make their living in farming, those that make their living in one of our eight coastal counties in the fishing industry, they are being hammered day in, day out, day in, day out by rising fuel costs, especially the cost of diesel fuel.
We have the responsibility to American people today to alleviate our energy crisis through tough economic times. We can do this and must achieve this important goal while protecting the sensitive coastal regions.
And, yes, I took my baby steps on the beaches of Panama City, so I understand how important our environmental concerns are. My family's been there since Florida became a State, so I understand how critically important our environment is.
But at the same time, we must also preserve our military mission capabilities. We are the home of Tyndall Air Force Base and the home of the F-22, and so I understand how critical they are to our communities and our environment and our economies down in Florida as well.
We must do all these things while at the same time making sure that what we do in this House protects the American family budget and, especially in regards to rising fuel costs. Most family budgets today are spending over 10 percent, right at, near and over 10 percent of their family budget on rising fuel costs.
Unfortunately, some of our colleagues today believe the best thing to do, rather than to get out of this hole, is to dig this hole even deeper. As my grandfather would have said, Son, that would violate walking around sense? Okay? Instead of getting out of the hole, you just drive and dig a deeper hole.
This chart that I'm looking at right here beside me that I want you to see talks about the declining crude production in the Gulf of Mexico. In mid 2009, the United States was producing 1.73 million barrels of oil per day in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Energy Information Administration, that number will fall to 1.18 million barrels per day next year.
Earlier we heard one of my colleagues talk about the sixth graders around the country. Well, sixth graders, I will tell you, they understand and they will soon learn in economics that, in order to reduce the price, you have to have more of something. That's simple. They're going to learn that much in basic economics. You have to have more of it.
What does this drastic reduction in the gulf exploration mean for people in Florida's Second Congressional District? They mean that if they go to the marina to try to go catch their two fish this year per day out in the Gulf of Mexico, that they're going to spend almost $6 per gallon of gas to fill that boat up--$6 per gallon of gas. I'm telling you, that is unbearable.
The second chart that I have right here is the exodus of American jobs, rigs leaving the gulf for foreign waters under the Obama administration's de facto moratorium.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. REED. I yield the gentleman an additional minute.
Mr. SOUTHERLAND. You will see on here that jobs are leaving the Gulf of Mexico, and they're going to the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Australia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and, as we know, our favorite pick of late is Brazil.
I'm saying that what we have to do in this body today is we have to make sure that we put our lives in the lives of the American family, and we have to make sure that it is time today to do what this body should have done many, many years ago, and we have to make sure that we take care of them and make sure that we tap into our natural resources that we have in this country.
I stand today and rise in support of this rule as well as the underlying bill.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield myself 5 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, let's be clear. This bill does nothing, nothing at all to lower
fuel costs, and everything to increase the profits by big oil companies. I think it shows where the priority of the Republican Party is at this moment.
At this time I would like to yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Cicilline).
Mr. CICILLINE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1367, the Advanced Vehicle and Technology Act and ask my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question.
This legislation rewards American workers and American innovation. It's a true investment in American ingenuity and will help us Make It in America. By reauthorizing the Department of Energy's vehicle technologies research program, the Freedom car and the 21st century truck partnerships, the next generation of advanced vehicles will be built in America.
The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act is one important part of the Democratic jobs plan, a jobs plan that focuses on making it in America because there is no way that we can maintain our position as a great economic power without making things in America.
Making things in America is a key part of rebuilding our Nation's economy. It's about reversing the manufacturing job loss trend, recommitting ourselves to the things that created America's middle class, good-paying jobs, world-class education, top-notch research and sound infrastructure.
I strongly urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1367, because when we invest in American ingenuity and innovation, when we Make It in America, our middle class will be strengthened and our Nation will be prosperous.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Landry).
Mr. LANDRY. Hypocrisy. It's hypocrisy. Reuters', April 27, reported that the President urged other countries to lift crude oil output, to lift crude oil output. How come, if other countries increase their output, it affects the price; but yet, if we increase our output, it does not?
So if other countries promote their drill, baby, drill, it affects the price; but yet, when we in America try to drill, we don't affect the price, according to my colleagues on the other side.
Electric cars. So let's get this straight. They want Americans to charge their car up on a system, on a grid system that's already failing and broken. We've had rolling brownouts and blackouts in this country, and that's what we want to plug our cars into? I'm sorry. No.
Then they say there are the hybrid cars. I can't pull my boat with a Prius. I can't do it. I enjoy going fishing. I enjoy the time that I get to take my little boy out and teach him what my father and my grandfather taught me, and I have to do that pulling a boat with my Chevrolet pickup truck. I sure wish that, when I fill it up, that it was affordable.
And we can make it in America. Let's make American energy. That's what this bill, our bill, does. That's why I rise in support of this rule and this bill. If we want to make things in America, let's start with making our energy. When we can make our energy in America, we can make our products here.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Clarke).
Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize that the gentleman from Louisiana had it partially right. You know, the way we create jobs, we do it the old-fashioned way. We import great cars from Detroit.
So I urge you to defeat the previous question, support the bill that we have been talking about that will create great fuel-efficient cars, that will create jobs, and also save our motorists a lot of money because they won't have to fill up their cars with this expensive gasoline. They will be able to power their vehicles through other alternative sources of energy.
It's good for our environment, it's great for our country, it will save the motorists money, but, most importantly, it will create jobs.
Let's import these good-paying jobs by importing fuel-efficient vehicles from the city of Detroit. That's how you make it in America.
Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. Herrera Beutler).
Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Mr. Speaker, the rising cost of gas is quickly becoming the hottest topic in any meeting, and especially in my hometown and in my neck of the woods in southwest Washington State.
I hosted a job creators forum about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and one of the biggest issues I heard about was the rising cost of gas prices.
One gentleman owns a pizza delivery operation. They make pizzas and deliver them. You can all imagine what rising gas prices do to a small business like this. They've had to let people go in the past, and they're certain to hire people again. One of his requests was: make this affordable. One of the ways we can do that is by supporting this bill, because we open up the opportunity to get more domestic energy. And that's the reality.
I can't wait for the day when our country no longer is dependent on fossil fuels, when we don't need gasoline or we don't need to get it from countries that don't like us. I can't wait for that day. And I support those explorations of alternative energies. But the problem is we're not there yet. We are not there today. The reality is, every time gas goes up, we lose jobs, and in my neck of the woods, where we have double-digit unemployment, 13 percent, 14 percent going on 3 years, it is unacceptable that this Congress would sit on its hands and do nothing while the price of gas goes up.
If we explore for energy here domestically and we do it now, we're going to bring relief today to those small business owners in our region. They're going to be able to hire more people.
As we all go back to our districts next week, we know we're going to hear from moms and dads, we're going to hear from business owners about the high cost of gas. I invite my Democratic colleagues to join with us. Let's look our constituents in the eye and say: we supported legislation that will lower energy prices today to meet their needs.
Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
I just want to remind the gentlewoman that the Department of Energy says that if we go ahead with this plan, prices will go down by 3 cents to 5 cents in the year 2030.
If you're serious about alternative forms of energy, then my question is, Why have you defunded all the programs that would fund those new clean, green jobs?
While my Republican friends cut Medicare; while they cut fuel assistance for elderly people who can't afford the cost of fuel during the cold months; while they cut Pell Grants; while they go out of their way to protect the tax cuts of Donald Trump and millionaires while putting all the burden to reduce the deficit on middle class families; while they protect the subsidies for big oil companies, it is shameful. It is shameful that with the record profits that Big Oil is making, that taxpayers continue to subsidize them by billions of dollars. It is unconscionable.
Do you want to reduce the deficit? My friends on the other side go after programs that benefit the poor. They protect programs like corporate welfare that goes to big oil companies.
We should be investing in alternative forms of energy. We should be investing in cleaner and greener technologies. That's what we have been trying to do, but my friends on the other side have been obstructing everything that we have proposed.
They say they want to not be so reliant on fossil fuels in the future, and yet they cut the very programs that will allow us to become more energy independent. This bill here will do nothing, absolutely nothing, zero, to impact the price of gasoline. It does nothing.
Everybody knows how Big Oil operates, and they do whatever they want to do. At a time when they're raising their prices, they're going to make more money this year than they did last year. It's outrageous what they're doing to the American people, how they're gouging the American people.
This bill is not an answer to anything. It is just a sound bite for them to go home and say, hey, we did something, knowing it will never pass the Senate, but also knowing that even if it did pass the Senate and if the President signed it, it would mean nothing.
So rather than focusing on things to help create jobs, to help make it in America, to help create more products in this country, we are going through these ridiculous exercises every week on different subjects; and today it happens to be a bill that is a big wet kiss to Big Oil.
To me, this is the wrong thing we should be taking our time up doing. We should be talking about how should we create jobs in this country, how do we put people back to work. And, yes, we should be talking about ways that we could truly reduce the cost of energy for consumers.
Mr. Speaker, I am urging that we defeat the previous question. I will offer an amendment, if we defeat the previous question to the rule, to provide that, immediately after the House adopts the rule, it will bring up H.R. 1367, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2011, introduced by Representative Peters.
I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of the amendment in the Record along with extraneous material immediately prior to the vote on the previous question.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts?
There was no objection.
Mr. McGOVERN. One final thing, Mr. Speaker. Again, we had an amendment in the Rules Committee offered by Mr. Boswell that would help give hiring preferences to our veterans who are risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it was defeated. That is an outrage.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' and defeat the previous question so we can debate and pass a bill that American companies develop the next generation of high-tech fuel-efficient vehicles. I urge a ``no'' vote on the rule.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. REED. I yield myself the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, on this rule and on this bill, I think this side of the aisle is demonstrating to all of America that we are listening.
Right now, with gas prices going through the roof, right now, with people suffering high unemployment across the Nation, we have before us a rule and a bill that will undoubtedly create jobs, 1.2 million jobs, according to economist Dr. Joseph Mason.
We have a bill and a plan that is going to bring us closer to less dependency on foreign energy supplies. It will reduce foreign oil imports by nearly one-third.
Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the aisle are going to deal with the American people in an honest fashion. We are not going to scare the American people. We are going to have an open and honest conversation with the American people. We will lead. And what we are doing here is answering a call that the American people have reached out to us to do, and that is to commit to our domestic supplies of energy so that we have energy supplies that will allow manufacturers in the private sector to create the new opportunities for generations of Americans that are yet to come.
This is not a bill that is about protecting Big Oil. This is not about tax subsidies. I take great disagreement with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle when they say we are fighting for tax subsidies for Big Oil. What they are talking about is intangible drilling costs. They are talking about basic tax policy where there are income and expenses that are being calculated and deducted off income taxes. It goes back to my life in the private sector when I read income and expense sheets. All we are talking about are expenses, not tax subsidies.
If we want to engage in rhetoric, that's fine. But we are focused on the substance of the issue, and that substance is getting Americans back to work, 1.2 million jobs under this proposal. We will generate $800 million in revenue over 10 years, and we are going to lead.
I urge my colleagues to support this rule and support the underlying legislation by voting in favor of both.
The material previously referred to by Mr. McGovern is as follows:
An Amendment to H. Res. 257 Offered by Mr. McGovern of Massachusetts
At the end of the resolution, add the following new sections:
Sec. 2. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution the Speaker shall, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1367) to provide for a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application in vehicle technologies at the Department of Energy. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. All points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. If the Committee of the Whole rises and reports that it has come to no resolution on the bill, then on the next legislative day the House shall, immediately after the third daily order of business under clause 1 of rule XIV, resolve into the Committee of the Whole for further consideration of the bill.
Sec. 3. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the consideration of the bill specified in section 2 of this resolution.
(The information contained herein was provided by the Republican Minority on multiple occasions throughout the 110th and 111th Congresses.)
The Vote on the Previous Question: What It Really Means
This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote against the Republican majority agenda and a vote to allow the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be debating.
Mr. Clarence Cannon's Precedents of the House of Representatives (VI, 308-311), describes the vote on the previous question on the rule as ``a motion to direct or control the consideration of the subject before the House being made by the Member in charge.'' To defeat the previous question is to give the opposition a chance to decide the subject before the House. Cannon cites the Speaker's ruling of January 13, 1920, to the effect that ``the refusal of the House to sustain the demand for the previous question passes the control of the resolution to the opposition'' in order to offer an amendment. On March 15, 1909, a member of the majority party offered a rule resolution. The House defeated the previous question and a member of the opposition rose to a parliamentary inquiry, asking who was entitled to recognition. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon (R-Illinois) said: ``The previous question having been refused, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had asked the gentleman to yield to him for an amendment, is entitled to the first recognition.''
Because the vote today may look bad for the Republican majority they will say ``the vote on the previous question is simply a vote on whether to proceed to an immediate vote on adopting the resolution ..... [and] has no substantive legislative or policy implications whatsoever.'' But that is not what they have always said. Listen to the Republican Leadership Manual on the Legislative Process in the United States House of Representatives, (6th edition, page 135). Here's how the Republicans describe the previous question vote in their own manual: ``Although it is generally not possible to amend the rule because the majority Member controlling the time will not yield for the purpose of offering an amendment, the same result may be achieved by voting down the previous question on the rule ..... When the motion for the previous question is defeated, control of the time passes to the Member who led the opposition to ordering the previous question. That Member, because he then controls the time, may offer an amendment to the rule, or yield for the purpose of amendment.''
In Deschler's Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the subchapter titled ``Amending Special Rules'' states: ``a refusal to order the previous question on such a rule [a special rule reported from the Committee on Rules] opens the resolution to amendment and further debate.'' (Chapter 21, section 21.2) Section 21.3 continues: ``Upon rejection of the motion for the previous question on a resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, control shifts to the Member leading the opposition to the previous question, who may offer a proper amendment or motion and who controls the time for debate thereon.''
Clearly, the vote on the previous question on a rule does have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only available tools for those who oppose the Republican majority's agenda and allows those with alternative views the opportunity to offer an alternative plan.
Mr. REED. I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.
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