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Providing for Consideration of H. R. 2842, Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydro Power Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.

Madam Speaker, 180 days ago, the President of the United States came to this Chamber and laid out before the country and the Congress some very specific proposals to help put Americans back to work. The President proposed that we give a tax cut to small businesses who hire people. The House has never voted on that proposal. The President proposed that at a time when our bridges and roads and airports and ports need construction and reconstruction, that we put Americans back to work in the construction industry performing those vitally necessary tasks. The House has never voted on that proposal. At a time when police officers and firefighters and teachers are being laid off across our country, the President proposed some short-term relief so we could put our officers back on the beat, our firefighters back on the apparatus, our teachers back in the classroom. The House has never voted on that proposal.

Here we are 6 months later, doing what we're doing today. In that 6 months, another crisis has manifested itself, one that affects Americans across our country more severely every day, and that is each time they fill up their vehicle, it takes just a little bit more money out of their grocery budget, the utility budget, what they use to pay their mortgage payment, what they use to educate their children. The rising price of gasoline is a serious threat to the prosperity and stability of American families.

The president of Exxon has said that his conclusion is that about $30 of the cost of a barrel of crude oil is attributable to the speculation of prices by people who never really buy, sell or use oil, but who bet on its price: casino gamblers, not deliverers of oil. Goldman Sachs estimates that anywhere from $22 to $28 a barrel is also due to speculation, and they ought to know because they're no doubt participating in it.

The bill that we would propose be put on the floor this afternoon would crack down on that speculation. It would require that trades be disclosed; it would empower regulatory agencies to identify illegal price manipulation behavior; and reduce the price of crude oil to American consumers.

There are other ways to do this. I, for one, favor increased domestic production. I think there are ways that we can increase the natural gas and coal and oil that we produce. I certainly think that we should expand renewables as well. But there is one regulatory tool that we have not given our regulators and we ought to give it to them here. The underlying bill is certainly worthy of consideration, but we have an immediate energy problem here in America, an immediate jobs problem. And I would respectfully suggest that the right vote is to defeat the previous question so we may move on and consider legislation that would deal with the current price of gasoline prices.


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