Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Speaker, it's always a pleasure to get to address the House in your presence.
I tell you what. There was quite an election in November of 2010. One of the results was a freshman named Rob Woodall from Georgia, and the gentleman from Georgia does his constituents proud. It's a pleasure to serve with him.
His comments, most meaningful. When we think of what is going on today in the world of energy and the world of constitutional rights, in the world of religious freedom, there are things to be excited about, and there are things to be greatly saddened about.
When I came to Congress as a freshman, was sworn in in January of 2005, it looked like our days of being an energy giant in the world were over. Sure, we were the kings of technology, but we were hearing from people that use natural gas for most of the stuff it seems like--you look around the room and see whether it's plastics, or if you've got food, probably had fertilizer, natural gas used to make the fertilizer--it has had such a role in many things.
In recent months I've asked some scientists, do you see anything on the horizon that might replace natural gas for the use as a feed stock for so many things we make, and manufacture, in this country. I was told not for at least 30 years or so.
The amazing thing, though, in the last 7 years that should have everybody in America excited, is all the energy that's been found in America. Here we are having to all wring our hands, lower our heads, oh, woe is us, gas prices going up. We've got a President, unfortunately, seems like a nice fellow, but he doesn't know anything about energy other than what's handed to him that he could read about. I wish that it was otherwise, but the fact is he keeps making statements that are not borne out by the facts with regard to energy.
I've been excited as a member of the Natural Resources Committee to find out all of the things that are being found. In east Texas, where I am, we are fortunate because there was a natural gas formation that Louisiana was kind enough to share with us. It's called the Haynesville shale. For that reason, there's more natural gas being produced in east Texas than any of the other 31 congressional districts in America.
There's the Marcellus shale, Pennsylvania, runs up into New York State. But a massive natural gas formation. The ability of hydraulic fracking, which has never been shown by a single scientific study to pollute water, despite some of the stories--once they're investigated people find out they're not true. Because the purpose of hydraulic fracking is to push oil or natural gas out of the formation and up. There is a vested interest in making sure that everything is sealed thousands of feet below where drinking water would be found. There is no scientific study that finds hydraulic fracking has polluted drinking water.
Yet, you look at the things it's done. Depending on who you believe, we probably have at least 300 years of natural gas, even at an accelerated rate. People are now looking at having their cars running on natural gas.
Then, just when we think, well, natural gas is the thing of the future, now we've got 300 years in which to find a suitable alternative without bankrupting the country trying to create something in the way of solar power or wind power--one day solar power I think will be a very viable source, but in the meantime, this President, in supporting his cronies who are manufacturing solar panels, some of them not doing anything but enriching themselves--but the market will take care of these things.
When it is economically feasible and economically viable, then we'll see things like solar power become a reality. But it's no time soon. In the meantime, the President's friends are being enriched, the country is being taken to the poorhouse on a fast track. There is no need for that.
Natural gas is the cleanest burning form of energy we could hope for.
We're the largest repository of coal in the world.
Then we find all of this oil, this huge place in North Dakota. I've met with a third group now who tells me that in Utah, this hard reddish brown rock that you wouldn't think has oil, when put under intense heat, without oxygen, you get oil. They say it's $60 a barrel. They can make $10 or more a barrel. They're doing it right now in Estonia. The same kind of rock, the same kind of thing. Now the third group has told me they believe they think they can get 3 trillion barrels of oil from just one area of Utah. Then it goes into northwest Colorado and southwest Wyoming, from what I'm told.
We know that there have been enough wells drilled in the Middle East that all the oil that is there, we pretty well know where it is. We have a good idea from the way the wells and the fields are being depleted about how much is left.
Information that I've been given indicates that there is probably somewhere around a trillion barrels of oil left in the Middle East--a trillion. Yet, in one area of Utah, we're told there may be three times that much. Sadly, however, this administration does what it has done repeatedly for over 3 years: they put more and more of our resources off limits. So when the President reads the teleprompter and says, There's just nothing I can do to change the price of gasoline, would that we could get information to him to show him how wrong that is. There is oil; there is natural gas; there is coal.
We've also been given the information that when gasoline hits $4 a gallon, normally at least 25 percent to a third or so is purely speculation. So I realize the President wouldn't say there's nothing he can do about the skyrocketing price of gasoline. He surely means that, or I'm sure he wouldn't say it.
Yet the truth is, if the President were to go on television tonight and announce, Do you know what, folks? My Secretary of the Interior in January of 2009 immediately on coming into office announced that he was sending back the checks for leases in this small area. It may have involved some in northwest Colorado, but it was certainly in Utah. He sent back the checks and said that we're not going to allow leases on these areas that were let at the midnight hour by the Bush administration. Well, we'd give him the benefit of the doubt and just say, apparently he didn't know at the time what he was saying was not true.
Those leases, as he admitted in one of our hearings as I had to keep pushing to get the answer, were part of a 7-year process. Companies can't just come in and bid massive amounts of money on a lease on which they expect to produce oil or gas until they've had a chance to study the information. It was a 7-year process--not the midnight hour, but 7 years. Secretary Salazar finally admitted that. It was 7 years just to get to the point where people could bid on those leases--a massive amount of Federal land. The majority of Utah is Federal land. He put it off limits and returned the checks after the 7-year process was completed. Fortunately, during the prior 7, 8 years of the Bush administration, there were other areas where leases were let and permits were granted and drilling commenced.
I don't think we ought to be allowing anybody to drill who has had as many safety violations as British Petroleum had in the gulf. If you can't have less than 800 egregious safety violations in your drilling, you've got no business drilling on American soil or over American waters. Yet they were allowed to drill when, during comparable times, Exxon and others had one, two, none. They had about 800.
It appears the reason they were allowed to keep going, even though there was such a great lack of safety, is that they were about to come out publicly as being a big energy company that embraced the President's cap-and-trade bill. That was going to be big news, so they didn't want to alienate a big energy company. Of course, they were going to be getting even richer dealing in the carbon credits. Consistent with the crony capitalism, they were going to be thrown lots of bonuses through that.
But anyway, this ought to be an exciting time in American history. We have energy galore. A man from China told me that he thought they had figured out what we were doing for our energy policy. We keep declaring all of our energy off limits, more and more of it. We don't use the energy we've got. We do have more energy, when you consider all of the resources, than any other country in the world.
While the President is busy out there deriding America for using too much energy, we make the world safer; we make the world more peaceable; we make the environment cleaner. When manufacturers leave America and go to other places in the world, they pollute four to 10 times more in most of the places that those manufacturers are going to. If you really care about the environment, then keep them here. Many of them are union jobs. You'd think the unions would embrace what we're trying to do rather than what the President is doing, but I understand loyalty runs deep.
We've got health care that has been rammed down the throats of Americans. The majority didn't want it. The elections revealed that in November of 2010. All of the polls revealed that throughout 2009 and 2010. We got it forced upon us when, really, what this government does best is play referee. It makes sure everybody is playing fair and playing by the rules. The problem is, when we become a player, when we become a coach and the referee, we're terrible at all three. When we get so involved in owning part of Wall Street that we're not watching what's going on, you have things like Madoff ripping people off right and left. We should be the referees, making sure everybody plays fairly--not the players, not the coaches, but the referees. The government, Federal Government especially, is a terrible coach when trying to tell people how to make a business work.
The best thing that could happen is if we get insurance companies out of the health care management business that they're in now. They're really not in the insurance business anymore; they're in the health management business. If we don't get them back into the insurance business and out of managing our lives and our health, then they'll be out of business, and the government will take over it all just as ObamaCare anticipates. That's where it's all headed. If we don't get the Federal Government out of being a player and a coach and a referee in health care, then the government will ultimately be the only player and coach and referee, and that does not bode well for Americans.
We have a chance now, for the first time since the sixties, since Medicare was thought up, to allow our seniors to take control of their own health care and to give them the resources to do it. There would be nothing like a real test: Medicare here. If you want Medicare, have it just the way it is or we'll buy you health care, a private insurance policy; and we'll be referees and make sure they pay fair. We'll make it a high-deductible policy because those are so much cheaper. Then we'll give you cash in a health savings account that will be enough to cover the amount of your deductible each year.
In the end, it will be cheaper, and it will give people the dignity and patience--the control--of their health care so they don't have to beg the Federal Government, so they don't have to beg this board that ObamaCare has set up, so they don't have to beg some insurance company--please, please, let me have this treatment. You'll have insurance; you'll have the money to cover the high deductible; and we will move people into being in charge of their own lives, because the alternative is rather grim.
But let's be clear: this government wants to control people's lives. As soon as ObamaCare were to be fully operational, then the Federal Government has every right to tell people what they can eat; to tell people what medicines they can have; to tell people when they won't get that pacemaker, as the President told a lady at the White House during a town hall.
Maybe it's time we tell people like your mom, who would have 10 extra years of life with a pacemaker, you don't get the pacemaker--just take a pain pill. If we don't get this turned around, the government will have every right to tell you what to eat, what to drink, how much you have to exercise, what you can and can't do.
Our freedoms will be gone.
I've got a great quote here from one of the Founders, a man named Thomas Jefferson:
If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
Those that say: Gee, I want to have unlimited sex, and I want the government to pay for it. Somebody's got to. I want the government controlling my life. People that feel like they need the government telling them what to do whatever it is, whatever aspect of life.
Sam Adams is given credit as being one of the most influential Founders in giving us this great Nation:
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Now, once the government has the right to control everybody's health care, it will have the right to tell you what freedoms it will recognize and you can practice and which you can't. That's why one of the reasons ObamaCare is so objectionable. It's the government intrusion into so many areas of our lives.
The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We're not supposed to make a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. ObamaCare does that. It gives this government the power to say: You know what? People ought to be able to get abortions paid for by the government, which means the taxpayers pay for it. They ought to be able to get contraceptives as they wish. So never mind the fact that right now if there is somebody in America that needs contraceptives, they can be obtained, plenty of sources, still the President feels the need to intrude upon religious belief and say: Folks, you can't practice this belief. If you believe abortion is murder, it's murder of an unborn child, well, I will tell you what we'll do. We'll just say your money doesn't go for abortions.
Yet in ObamaCare, it's very clear there will be clinics, there will be policies that will provide abortions, and people that pay into policies, those policies insure across the board and they will cover that. And money is fungible; it will be used for abortions; it will be used for contraceptives, even though there are people putting in money to the system that object and feel they are violating their religious beliefs.
So it struck me that the President recently found time to apologize to someone who had been up here on the Hill testifying, but he never found time to apologize to those whom he told: You cannot practice your religious beliefs. Oh, yes, he tried to make an accommodation for a church and a hospital, but Catholics that have these closely held beliefs--I'm a Baptist, but, good grief, if you're going to tell a Catholic they can't practice their religion because, as some in this body have said, a majority think you shouldn't, you're going to tell people they can't practice their religious beliefs? For heaven's sake, at least give them an apology. But not so, no apology there. So I thought, well, maybe it would be helpful to track exactly what deserves apology and what doesn't.
Well, we remember when the President first came into office, the first thing he did was take what a lot of people refer to as the apology tour. He went around the world apologizing for America's arrogance toward countries where we had Americans buried who gave their last full measure of devotion to free those countries. But the President found time. Do they get an apology or no apology? Yes, you got an apology.
All right. There were Bush policies that our President said--toward countries that we actually give a tremendous amount of money to but who vote against us over half the time in the U.N. Do they get an apology? Bingo. He found time to give them an apology.
The family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, murdered by an Operation Fast and Furious gun that our government forced to be sold to criminals, well, well, no time for an apology. They don't get one.
The CIA enhanced interrogation that saved lives and led to finding Osama bin Laden, we do have time to apologize to them. They get one. All right.
Detaining terrorists who killed or conspired to kill Americans at Guantanamo, even though there hasn't been a single incident of waterboarding or torturing of any kind remotely at Guantanamo, even though when they throw feces or urine on our guards, we will take away 2 hours of their movie watching, still, they get an apology from this White House.
The accidental 2012 burning of these Korans that were desecrated by the writing of detainees, yes, they got an apology.
The families of the American soldiers who were killed after President Obama said he ``calmed things down'' by apologizing to Afghanistan. No, didn't get an apology. No apology there. Our own soldiers, but, no, no apology.
Death of two Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan and the death of four other Pakistanis in 2010 when a plane, we were told, made a mistake. Yes, Pakistanis, they get apology; but Americans don't, Pakistanis do.
The President's support for the Ground Zero mosque at 2010 White House Iftar dinner opposed by most Americans, including 9/11 survivors, most Americans didn't want a mosque at Ground Zero. The President said it was a matter of religious freedom. So, basically, the word ``apology'' I don't believe was used, but it was an apology. We believe in them being allowed to do that, even though it offends most Americans and victims' families, yes, yes. They were at the White House hearing how sorry he was that Americans opposed that.
Comments in 2011 that Israel should return to its 1967 borders that would have subjected it to relentless attacks and vulnerability, as Prime Minister Netanyahu explained, no, Israel doesn't get one. No apology for Israel.
His good friends Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, the first people to have a fundraiser at their house for him, they were part of a radical left-wing group, Weather Underground, detonated a bomb at the Pentagon in 1972. And we know there are still people serving in the military that were around when the Pentagon was attacked by his biggest, earliest supporters. They don't get an apology. No apology there.
Ordering many Christians to violate their religious beliefs and pay for abortion, drugs, and contraceptives, no, no apology there. Violates your religious beliefs; too bad, no apology.
Comments by President Obama and President Sarkozy in 2011 at the G 20 summit where they belittled Prime Minister Netanyahu. He's Israeli. No apology for that. Comments made by Rush Limbaugh in his radio program about pro-abortion activist and Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, yes, the President found time for that apology.
The President's support for not allowing nurses to save babies that were born alive after a botched abortion, we've heard from some of those--at least one of those nurses--how brokenhearted they were sitting there and being forced to watch a baby die. No apology for those folks.
Attendance for 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ where radical pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright used racial and anti-Semitic terms, inflammatory rhetoric and insulting comments about Hillary Clinton from his pastor--I believe the comment was he could no more disown that fine gentleman, which he later did. No apology for anybody offended by that.
And inflammatory and indecent comments of one of President Obama's biggest supporters, Bill Maher, regarding Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, tens of times worse than anything Rush Limbaugh would have ever dreamed of saying. That's right, no apology for that.
So I think it helps to chronicle exactly what deserves an apology from the White House these days, you know, just so we know where policies lie and where this President stands and with whom he stands.
And with that, Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.