Friday, December 7, 2007

Boehner Column: "Congress’ No-Energy Bill Could Cost Jobs, Will Raise Energy Prices"

Congress’ No-Energy Bill Could Cost Jobs, Will Raise Energy Prices

It should come as no surprise that Congress has, once again, made your life more difficult. The U.S. House recently passed an energy bill that does nothing to lower energy costs – you don’t get a break on your fuel costs; there’s no relief for your high home-heating bills.

The American people want their elected leaders in Washington to address the rising costs of living and the skyrocketing energy costs. But this bill instead will create an energy shortage and kill American jobs, creating a recipe for economic disaster. According to an independent study by CRA International, a business consulting group, the No-Energy Bill would “restrict the supply of energy available to the U.S. economy” and increase costs for a wide array of consumer goods and services. And energy policy analysts have noted that schemes in the bill will actually increase gas prices.

The big question that must be asked is: Who is looking out for consumers? Unfortunately, the answer from Congress is: Not us.

I voted against this bill, and I will continue to vote against bad legislation that will hurt working families. This bill contains zero reforms to help families deal with rising home-heating costs. It doesn’t take a single step toward more production of domestic energy sources. And, as the CRA study noted, it could result in the net loss of 4.9 million American jobs by 2030, a $1,700 decrease in the average American household’s annual purchasing power and a net loss of $1 trillion in U.S. economic output.

By now, you’re wondering what is contained within the more than 1,000 pages of the bill that was written secretly by just a few powerful Congressional representatives and bypassed U.S. House process by not being vetted through the Energy and Commerce Committee.

There is $2 billion in the bill to develop a rail line from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to lower Manhattan. The bill creates “forestry conservation tax credit bonds” that apparently will benefit just one company in the entire country due to the new program’s requirements that land must include at least 40,000 acres and have a “native fish habitat conservation plan approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.” The only such “forest” with fish is owned by a timber company in Montana.

As if that’s not bad enough, a “green pork” $3 billion slush fund in the bill could also put your tax dollars toward:

Hybrid snowmobiles in Aspen, Colorado;
A fake rainforest in Iowa;
Replacing police cars in Beverly Hills with Lexus Hybrids;
And copies of Al Gore’s global warming move to give to school children.

If we are serious about solving the energy crisis in America , we must deal with conservation, with alternative fuel sources and with increased domestic production of energy. We must be committed to developing long-term alternatives to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And we must provide incentives for consumers and companies to embrace alternative sources of energy.

Two years ago, the Republican-led Congress passed the Energy Policy Act – the first comprehensive national energy strategy in more than a decade – that called for oil exploration on a very small parcel of the 19 million acres in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge. The benefits of expanding our energy portfolio are not just in reducing prices but increasing opportunities here at home for new family-wage jobs and growing American industries. Ohio is among the largest coal-producing states in the country and we have devoted an enormous amount of resources for research and development. While retaining our position as a national leader on coal, we should seek to become a leader in other energy sectors as well.

Let’s get serious about energy independence. Let’s get serious about what we need to do as a nation to solve this problem for our children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, legislation that kills American jobs and threatens our economy is not the right direction for us to take. I look forward to developing a real energy strategy for our nation and for our working families.

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