Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boehner Column: "Let's Work Together to Make America Energy Independent"





I spoke to President-elect Obama on the phone briefly last week. We had a good conversation. I congratulated him on his historic election as our nation’s 44th President, and expressed my sincere hope that Democrats and Republicans will find ways to work together in the years ahead to adopt real solutions to the problems Americans face in their daily lives.

Energy policy is one area in which I believe the potential for collaboration exists. President-elect Obama has vowed comprehensive energy reform will be among the top priorities of his administration, and he displayed willingness earlier this year to break with the harsh anti-drilling stance held by other Democratic Party leaders and radical anti-energy groups based in Washington.

Republicans are hopeful that we’ll have the opportunity to work with the President-elect to ensure his goal of comprehensive energy reform is realized in a responsible manner that meets our country’s needs. For this reason, I’m troubled by reports that he may reinstate the ban on American energy production in certain federal areas as one of his first acts upon taking office. I would respectfully urge the incoming president against such action.

As a candidate for the presidency, President-elect Obama demonstrated leadership by breaking with his party’s other leaders on the issue of offshore drilling. Last August, in the midst of the House GOP energy protest on the House floor, he announced he would be willing to support lifting the ban on offshore drilling if it were necessary to pass a “comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” echoing pro-energy Republicans who were calling for an end to the ban as part of a comprehensive “all of the above” approach to energy reform. Weeks later, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who previously had shut down the annual appropriations process in the House in an effort to prevent the ban from being lifted, abandoned her efforts and permitted the lifting of outdated moratoria on energy production both far off our shores and in remote lands in the Inter-Mountain West.

This development was applauded by most Americans, a clear majority of whom oppose the ban. Some in Washington were displeased, however. Responding to anger from powerful special interest groups who contributed heavily to Democratic political campaigns this fall, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) promised that reinstating the ban “will be a top priority for discussion next year” in the 111th Congress, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tried unsuccessfully to reinstate part of the ban via the year-end continuing resolution.

In breaking with his party’s other leaders last August on the issue of offshore drilling, then-candidate Obama signaled he would be willing to put the needs of the country first on this key issue as President. As he reviews the possibility of reinstating the ban in the coming days, I would urge him to hold firm and continue to side with the American people on this important issue for our country’s future.

Reinstating the ban would delay our nation’s transition to energy independence, inhibit progress toward widespread use of alternative and renewable energy, destroy jobs, increase costs for families and small businesses, and make our country less secure. It would also run counter to the views of a majority of Americans, who are struggling in the current economy and remain worried about our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and our vulnerability to dramatic gas price spikes despite the recent decline in prices at the pump.

The energy crunch of 2008 alerted the nation to the consequences of ill-conceived limits on domestic energy production that force us to be reliant on foreign oil. While gas prices have temporarily dropped, they will certainly rise again, quite possibly to levels higher than Americans experienced last summer.

Our nation’s energy challenges must be answered responsibly and aggressively. This means abolishing federal bans on domestic energy production, giving the green light to environmentally-responsible drilling in previously untapped areas, and using a share of the revenues from such drilling to expand the development and use of clean, renewable energy systems.

One of the great accomplishments of the 111th Congress and President-elect Obama’s initial years in office could be the implementation of an “all of the above” energy strategy that bolsters American-made energy, encourages conservation and efficiency, and promotes the use of renewable and alternative fuels. Ending the energy production ban is a cornerstone of such a solution. Reinstating the ban would be a setback for hopes of cooperation on this vital issue for our country’s future.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boehner Column: "End Tax-Payer Funding of ACORN"





Our elections serve as an example of free choice and peaceful transfer of power to the world where too many people are denied the right to vote and a new governing authority comes in during a bloody coup. That’s why allegations of rampant voter registration fraud and electoral fraud throughout Ohio and the country are all the most disturbing. But what makes me angry – and what makes a lot of my constituents angry – is that an organization at the heart of this controversy is receiving federal tax dollars.

For years, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), has been the recipient of millions of dollars of federal funding through various programs and third-party groups. House Republicans were successful in removing a housing slush-fund from the recent economic rescue plan that was slipped in by ACORN’s allies.

This was a good first victory against an organization that for decades has promoted the housing policies that pushed our economy to the brink – forcing banks through affordable-housing programs to give mortgages to individuals who under normal circumstances would not qualify for such loans. The lack of congressional oversight – and a willingness from those who benefited politically to turn a blind eye – to the practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have enabled ACORN to continue its destructive actions.

Other than its voter registration efforts, ACORN is involved in lobbying for federal dollars to assist low-income housing programs and, through another arm of its vast network, works in local communities promoting and operating the same programs.

Unfortunately for American taxpayers, ACORN’s allies have successfully found ways to funnel federal dollars to the group. In July, congressional Democrats pushed through a housing bill that contained another slush fund. I voted against that bill because of the slush-fund. Additionally, I have called for an immediate stop to all federal funding for ACORN. Your hard-earned tax dollars that are distributed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies should not be going to an organization that is actively seeking to subvert our electoral system

Just recently, ACORN’s top organizer in Cleveland told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the organization “can’t be expected to catch” every fraudulent voter registration it turns into election officials. This was preceded by two Ohio voters claiming they were harassed by ACORN workers so often that they wound up registering “10 to 15” times, according to an article published in the New York Post.

And these problems are not new to Ohioans. In 2006, ACORN tried to register a dead man in Columbus and others who simply turned out not to exist, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Franklin County officials that year questioned the validity of hundreds of ACORN-submitted registration forms, the paper said. Similar problems existed in 2004, and these problems will continue unless action is taken now.

Currently, more than a dozen states have opened investigations into ACORN’s activities. I am currently looking into how much federal money ACORN is receiving, either directly or indirectly, so that we can put an end to this nonsense. Election cycle after election cycle, ACORN has been at the forefront of breaking the law to promote a radical agenda.

All federal funding to this group must stop. Contracting for services between candidates for federal office and ACORN must end. And now that the taxpayers own Fannie Mae, any funding from Fannie’s nonprofit foundation to ACORN must stop immediately. The American taxpayers should no longer be forced to help fund an organization that has threatened our economic security and that has over the years perpetrated frauds on our electoral system making us question the fairness and accuracy of our voting system, the most fundamental right granted under our Constitution. It’s time to cut off ACORN now before it grows even more destructive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Voinovich's View: "Ohioans Speak Out Over High Gas Prices"




I understand that Ohioans are hurting from sky-high costs of food and energy – especially from gasoline prices. And your personal experiences dealing with this crisis are important to me.

To reach out to Ohioans directly, I recently emailed the recipients of my monthly E-Newsletter and asked them to share with me stories about how their families have been affected by these costs. This email newsletter and platform for you all to weigh in with me directly gives you a real voice in Washington. To sign up for my E-Newsletter, visit my Web site at http://voinovich.senate.gov.

I was overwhelmed by the number of responses I received and was deeply touched with the stories people shared. I have already shared many of these stories with my colleagues in the Senate so that they can better understand how real people in Ohio are coping with these escalating costs. Ohio families cannot ignore rising gasoline prices – which are having an effect on everything from electricity and natural gas bills to food prices and the overall cost of living – and your stories can help convince Washington lawmakers to stop twiddling their thumbs.

I heard from parents, who have had to slash their family budgets; from seniors who are struggling to cover health care costs; and from small business owners who are really feeling the pinch and not sure how to make ends meet and keep their companies afloat.

An elderly woman from Defiance shared her struggle to pay for groceries, medications and health costs – and she’s especially worried about her home heating bills this winter. She said the high prices of gas have really affected the local Meals on Wheels program because volunteers are being forced to spend even more money to pay for gas.

Another woman, Beverly, said that she is thankful to be employed but, even with money coming in, they haven’t been able to visit and help their elderly parents as much as they would like because of gas prices. Beverly’s youngest son even had to transfer to a closer college and is struggling to pay the cost of tuition, commuting and food.

Shirley from Toledo was let go from her job in March. Mounting medical bills, prescriptions that cost $700 every three months and the increased cost of living forced her and her husband to file for bankruptcy as she looks for new employment.

Larry from Cincinnati said that he grew up in a poor family, and this great country allowed him to work hard, get an education and find a good-paying job that has afforded him and his wife a secure financial retirement. But, he added, he is sorry to say that he does not see the same security or opportunities for his children and grandchildren.

A small business owner from Bowling Green shared with me how his fuel charges for his carpet cleaning business have increased almost 50 percent in the last year and a half. It’s not too hard to figure out what that does to his take-home pay.

In addition to their experiences, Ohioans from across the state graciously shared words of support for my efforts in the Senate to address the energy crisis and craft a comprehensive solution, while at the same time expressing profound frustration. Believe me, I feel that same frustration. I’ve called for a Second Declaration of Independence from foreign sources of energy that threaten our energy and national security. While we cripple our own economy, we are sending billions of dollars overseas for oil to pad the coffers of many nations that do not have our best interest at heart, allowing them to control the supply and cost of our energy.

I’ve been frustrated for 10 years in the Senate as I’ve voted time and time again to take steps to avoid this crisis but to no avail. In fact, I have voted 10 times to allow for the safe production of the 10 billion barrels of oil known to be in ANWR. I have also fought to lift the moratorium on responsible exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf, which is what experts believe to be the quickest opportunity our nation has to increase or domestic oil production. And I have fought to tap the more than 800 billion barrels of oil locked up in our vast reserves of oil shale. We also must undertake an Apollo-like project focused on developing the clean, reliable and domestically abundant energy alternatives of the future.

Folks, we’ve got a big problem ahead of us, but I am confident that we can solve it by tapping into the resources we have at our fingertips. Congress has sat on its hands for far too long, but people across the country are raising their voices and demanding to be heard, and that is the only way we can bring about real changes in our policies and take our economy and national security back into our hands.

As I mentioned, one of the best ways to stay informed about what I’m doing to address the energy crisis is to read my E-Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter at http://voinovich.senate.gov. My Web site and E-Newsletter are two of the best ways to know what I’m doing for each and every Ohioan.

Since my days as governor of Ohio, I have been guided by my own motto of “Together we can do it!” And so it is with the energy crisis – we must work together and we must start now to solve this crisis and bring our economy back on track.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Boehner Column: Another "No-Energy Energy" Bill Forced Through Congress That Still Won't Let Us Drill Here Now





“We’re not trying to give incentives to drill …” (Washington Post, 9/17/08)

That’s what U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters just before voting on the energy bill that she claimed would help solve our energy crisis. Given the overwhelming cry from the American people to drill here and to drill now, this latest sham bill was the last thing we needed.

Pelosi’s bill keeps about 88 percent of the oil and natural gas we could find in deep ocean waters off our coast under lock and key, threatening about $800 billion in tax revenues for the U.S. Just imagine the investment we could make into our economy to create Americans jobs, and to develop alternative and renewable fuels with that money. Instead, the bill was cleverly written to prohibit drilling within 50 miles of the coastline – where most of the untapped oil happens to be – and to deny coastal states any share of drilling revenues, giving them absolutely no incentive to let companies explore for untapped resources.

It was clear more than six weeks ago when congressional Democrats voted themselves a five-week break that any serious discussion about relieving pain at the pump and creating American energy independence was a priority for only some lawmakers. House Republicans took our message directly to the American people about our bill – the American Energy Act – that would unlock our natural resources in Alaska, the Intermountain West and far off our coasts, create a significant investment into the fuels of tomorrow, such as clean-coal and coal-to-liquid technology, and help create good-paying American jobs. Since Aug. 1, I’ve heard from hundreds of you here in the 8th Congressional District – including dozens who mailed me their gas receipts – who agree that we need a comprehensive approach to produce American oil and natural gas for short-term relief and commit ourselves to developing tomorrow’s fuels (biomass, hydropower, wind, solar) to create energy independence. In fact, more than 70 percent of Americans agree that such a comprehensive approach is the direction we need to take. But instead of standing up for the vast majority of Americans who want our natural resources opened up for development, Pelosi sided with the few who would sacrifice the wallets of working families for, in her words, “saving the planet.”

The Newark Advocate in Licking County had this to say about the sham bill in a recent editorial:

“Oil drilling bill is short of a full tank. … The good news is the Democrats have reconsidered their opposition to some offshore oil drilling, getting a related bill passed. The bad news is it won’t make much difference in increasing domestic oil production. … Too bad the bill has so many other stipulations on it that even if it became law it seems like it would do little good. … until a bill that is actually helpful in cutting the price of a gallon of gas gets support in Washington, the only thing that Congress will lower is the estimation it has in the eyes of the public.”

As the Washington, D.C., publication Congressional Quarterly noted, the bill was an attempt to “provide political cover” for lawmakers who needed to be seen as supporting drilling at home while actually voting differently in Washington, D.C. This is exactly the kind of cynicism and hypocrisy that the American people are tired of seeing from Congress. If we are truly serious about stimulating our economy to create jobs, lower energy prices and get our economy moving again, an “all of the above” energy strategy is the way to do that, not political half-measures designed to protect lawmakers vulnerable in their re-elections.

Those who have been hardest hit by prices at the pump are Americans who don’t have the wiggle-room in their budgets for this tremendous increase to their costs of living. House Republicans will continue to fight for an “all of the above” comprehensive energy strategy that will once and for all get us off foreign oil and lead us toward American energy independence.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

WMOH VIDEO: Joe Nuxhall Rally



Butler County Commissioner Greg Jolivette kicked off another bid to get Joe Nuxhall elected to the Hall of Fame. Voting for the Ford C. Frick award is now underway.

Voinovich's View: "Helping Ohio Companies Create Jobs"




Helping Ohio Companies Create Jobs


Ever since I left the governor’s office, I have watched thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs leave our great state, and leaving families in crisis. And I have been trying to figure out new ways in Washington to help our state officials reverse that trend. Recently, we got a big win signed into law for Ohio businesses – but our work can’t stop there.

A few weeks ago, President Bush signed into law an amendment I authored that promises to help struggling businesses make new investments, expand operations and create jobs. The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 included my amendment to provide tax relief to the very companies that are hurting the most in Ohio.

It allows companies operating at a loss the option of claiming their accumulated alternative minimum tax (AMT) and research and development (R&D) tax credits if they use the funds to make new capital investments and create new jobs. But time is running out – this provision expires at the end of 2008. I hope that every eligible company takes advantage of it.

While this is a big win indeed, our work is far from done. I am pursuing even more initiatives to improve the competitiveness of U.S. and Ohio businesses:

Corporate Tax Reform: I recently introduced a bill, the Manufacturing, Assembling, Development, and Export in the USA Tax Act — or MADE in the USA Tax Act — to provide tax relief to domestic corporations and small businesses. My legislation would eliminate tax breaks that advantage foreign competitors and encourage companies to move jobs overseas and then use the additional revenues would then be used to cut taxes on large and small businesses that invest and create jobs in the United States, including: cutting the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent; increasing the domestic activities deduction to 12 percent from 9 percent of qualifying income for S corporations and partnerships that are not taxed at the corporate rate; and making permanent the expanded small business expensing provision enacted in 2003 and that expires in 2011.

Energy Independence: I have cosponsored multiple pieces of legislation to increase our domestic supply of both traditional and alternative energy sources, including oil, coal, natural gas, oil shale, tar sands, nuclear power and other forms of alternative and renewable energy. I recently introduced an amendment that would open up the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration and use a portion of the revenues to fund research into alternative energy. I am also leading the effort to make Ohio a leader in energy production by expanding nuclear power and coal-to-liquids technology.

Intellectual Property Rights: I have joined Senators Specter, Leahy and Bayh to introduce comprehensive intellectual property (IP) enforcement legislation that treats IP theft with the seriousness it demands by offering a focused, aggressive solution to stop counterfeiting. Our bill would preserve jobs and protect the health and safety of American citizens by increasing IP enforcement through improved coordination among the federal and state agencies charged with IP protection and making permanent many of the President’s current initiatives to combat IP theft.

Workforce Development: This year, I introduced legislation aimed at making it easier for states to develop regional workforce development and economic development programs that meet the needs of the workers and employers. The Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Act of 2008 will help states attract and retain businesses and jobs by helping to ensure that the state can leverage its federal workforce dollars with federal development dollars. This will help ensure that Ohio has a well-qualified and well-trained workforce that meets regional employers’ needs.

I am very concerned about our country and the ability of our businesses to compete in a global economy. I will continue to work hard to build an infrastructure of competitiveness so that our businesses can prosper and create jobs for hardworking Ohioans.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boehner Column: American Energy Act Will Promote Use of Alternative & Renewable Fuels





We’re almost through the summer driving season – with no relief in sight since the Democratic Majority in Congress left Washington, DC for a five-week break. Still, as gas prices remain high and home heating costs expected to soar this fall and winter, I remain hopeful that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will finally allow a vote on the American Energy Act, which is the House Republicans’ plan to lower gas prices by increasing production of American energy, promoting more conservation and efficiency, and encouraging more use of alternative and renewable fuels.

Along with the vast majority of Americans, I want to unlock our natural resources and start producing more American oil and natural gas. It’s also important that we increase our investment in alternative and renewable fuels, and the American Energy Act includes several provisions to do that. I recently visited the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado, which is an Energy Department facility operated by private-sector scientists dedicated to perfecting cutting-edge solar, wind, fuel cell, biomass, and other emerging energy technologies. The work being done at NREL is a critical component of our strategy to reduce our nation’s dangerous and costly dependence on foreign oil through a comprehensive “all of the above” strategy.

To encourage the use of renewable and alternative fuels, the American Energy Act would:

  • Award a monetary prize to the first entrepreneur to develop an economically feasible, super-fuel-efficient vehicle (reaching 100 miles-per-gallon);


  • Establish a renewable energy trust fund using revenues generated by exploration in the deep ocean and on the Arctic coastal plain;


  • Eliminate barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production;


  • Permanently extend the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind, solar and hydrogen;


  • Repeal the prohibition on government purchasing of alternative energy; and


  • Promote coal-to-liquids technology.


  • Since Speaker Pelosi shut down the U.S. House on Aug. 1 for a five-week break, House Republicans have taken our plan for more American-made energy directly to the American people – from the House floor, where we are talking with thousands of American citizens touring our nation’s Capitol to explain how we’re being denied a vote on the American Energy Act, to communities across the country, where we are promoting our “all of the above” energy strategy in our own neighborhoods.

    But instead of joining us in our “American Energy Call to Arms,” Speaker Pelosi is telling her Democratic Caucus – many of whom support the same goals the American Energy Act would achieve – to try to have it both ways. She is on the record telling lawmakers that they should support a drilling plan while at home while assuring them she would never allow such a bill to come for a vote.

    Instead, the Democratic leadership of the “Drill Nothing” Congress continues to peddle legislation that will not produce a single drop or watt of new American energy. Is that the type of leadership the American people expect from their leaders in Washington?

    I’ve seen the American system work, and when the American people speak up and demand something, there is no way the Congress can defy them forever. Families and small businesses across America want more production of American energy to help lower gas prices, and that is just what Republicans are fighting for in our nationwide gas prices protest. Congress should get back to work, have a real debate on the American Energy Act, and put our “all of the above” energy strategy to work for families here in Ohio and across the country.

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Pics From Butler County Airport Radio Controlled Air Show



    TIB Network's Doug the Producer went to the Butler County Airport Radio Controlled Air Show today and snapped a few photos.





















    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Butler County Mom Charged with Pimping her 11-Year-Old Daughter



    The Cincinnati Enquirer has the story which includes this quote from Butler County Prosecuter and a Great American -- Robin Piper:
    "What words express a mother taking an 11-year-old girl to someone for the purpose of having sex?" Piper said. "I don't know what word you use - appalling?"

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Boehner Column: House Republicans, American People Protest “Drill-Nothing” Congress





    The U.S. House of Representatives truly became the People’s House on Friday, August 1 when hundreds of American citizens and families joined Republicans on the House floor to protest Democratic leaders’ decision to send Congress home for a five-week break without voting on energy reform legislation.

    This historic event was not just about gas prices; it was about the power of democracy. Throughout the summer, the Democratic leadership in the House had refused to allow a vote on legislation to help lower fuel costs and put us on the road to energy independence, despite widespread public support for such legislation among the American people. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) closed down the U.S. House for the five-week break on August 1 without an energy vote, House Republicans took to the Floor in protest. When the lights, microphones and cameras were shut off, we raised our voices to speak for the American people who for too long have been ignored by this "Drill-Nothing Congress.”

    Rather than listen to the American people, Speaker Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are listening to radical special-interest groups that believe we’re better off with expensive gas because fewer people will be able to drive. When she was asked why she refuses to allow a vote on the energy reforms Americans want, this was the Speaker’s explanation: “I am saving the planet.”

    But the notion that we have to choose between “saving the planet” and making America energy independent is false. I recently visited Northern Alaska, where energy production and wildlife have not only co-existed, but generally thrived together for decades. I saw firsthand that energy production can be done in a manner that protects the environment and the plants and animals that exist in such regions. It’s also notable that the people of northernmost Alaska – those who know the land best and care for it most – favor opening areas such as ANWR to careful, environmentally responsible drilling.

    I prefer to help working families by lowering gas prices, creating American jobs and getting us off our addiction to foreign energy. Every year, we send $700 billion a year overseas to pay for our oil addiction. That money would be better spent here at home to create good-paying jobs. Twenty-five years ago, about 60 percent of the oil we used was produced here in America; today, just 25 percent of the oil we use is American. While some Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have called on Saudi Arabia to increase its production, I believe that more people agree with Republicans in calling for the United States to increase production.

    House Republicans have introduced a comprehensive energy reform bill we call the American Energy Act. The American Energy Act calls for “all of the above” when it comes to the reforms needed to lower gas prices and liberate America from its dependence on foreign oil: more conservation, more alternative and renewable energy, and more production of American-made energy. It would accelerate the development and implementation of clean, renewable fuels; create new incentives for conservation and development of alternative energy sources; and lift the government ban on drilling in the frozen North Slope of Alaska and deepwater ocean energy zones far off the U.S. coast. We need to make use of these untapped American resources for affordable energy in the short-term as we work to develop and implement new, cleaner energy sources for the 21st Century.

    I reject the notion that American families have to suffer with $4 and $5 per gallon gasoline before America can successfully transition to the widespread use of new, cleaner energy. And clearly the American people reject it too. The American people want Congress to take action on an “all of the above” energy reform strategy. It starts with a vote on the American Energy Act, which would pass with bipartisan support today if Speaker Pelosi would simply allow it to come to a vote. Unfortunately, to date, she has refused to allow such a vote to take place. That’s why House Republicans, joined by hundreds of American citizens, rose in protest on the House floor on August 1.

    August 1 was a defining day for the U.S. House, and it will be remembered as the day the people took control and demanded action from their democratically elected representatives. While House Republicans stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the people, the Democratic leadership sent their Caucus home.

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Judge Niehaus Dies of Heart Attack




    The Cincinnati Enquirer reported this morning that Butler County Prosecuter Robin Piper had indicated that Judge David Niehaus of the Juvenile Court had passed away last night. The Journal-News adds that according to court officials, Niehaus died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 64.

    This story will be updated over at WMD.

    EnterTRAINment Junction



    Matt Cunningham of the Journal-News has the story on the opening of EnterTRAINment Junction in West Chester. Be sure to also check out the photo and video galleries as well.

    UPDATE: You can check out EnterTRAINment Junction on the web by clicking here. Currently, admission is $9.95 (everybody gets to be a kid again!) during the grand opening.

    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Boehner Column: "It's Time for the U.S. House to Vote on Meaningful Energy Reform"





    The next time you fill up at the gas station consider this: The U.S. House of Representatives has not been allowed to vote on meaningful energy reforms in more than a month. There have been several sham votes – such as one recently to replace 70 million barrels of easily refined oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) with oil that is much more difficult to process – but nothing that would help get out us out of this situation. Seventy million barrels of oil would meet our energy needs for about three days, and then we’re right back to where we are today. That’s not a solution; that’s not even a band-aid.

    Our job responsibilities as congressional representatives include voting on legislation. In 2007, there were 1,186 roll call votes in which you can track how individual lawmakers voted; so far in 2008, there have been 533 recorded votes. As of Friday, July 25, the House has held 62 roll-call votes this month. Not a single one of those votes has done a single thing to help bring down gas prices.

    And the Democratic leaders who control the House have indicated they will take the traditional August recess without letting the House vote on long-term solutions for what ails you – high gas prices. The Washington Post editorialized, “Instead of dealing with the issue on the merits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a staunch opponent of offshore drilling, has simply decreed that she will not allow a drilling vote to take on the House floor.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen such cynical and petty politics play out in the House. The American people are crying out, demanding their lawmakers take action to help – help lower fuel prices, help get us off our addiction to foreign oil and help create programs and incentives to bring alternative fuels online.

    A colleague of mine recently said, “Politicians do not see the light; they feel the heat.” I don’t know how much more clear it could be that the American public is indeed bringing down the heat on their representatives to do something; and that includes letting us vote on meaningful, long-term energy solutions.

    House Republicans recently introduced our energy strategy – the American Energy Act – that is a comprehensive measure to help reduce gas prices by harnessing new technologies, encouraging greater conservation and efficiency, and increasing American energy production in an environmentally-safe way. I recently visited Alaska’s remote North Slope where vast American energy resources sit untouched as well as nearby Prudhoe Bay, which uses 1970s technology to pull oil from the ground. I can tell you that I have seen with my own eyes wildlife and oil production coexisting.

    But instead of letting us vote on the American Energy Act, Pelosi and her lieutenants are trying to run out the clock. Chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees who are charged with moving spending bills to keep the federal government running have stopped their committee work because Republican lawmakers kept offering amendments to help lower fuel costs. We’re looking at situation in which both the House and Senate will leave for August recess without passing a single spending bill. That hasn’t happened since at least 1950.

    My Republican colleagues and I continue to look for ways to force the House to vote on meaningful energy reform, not band-aid measures that don’t create new American energy and help wean us off foreign oil. It’s time for Democratic leaders to stop listening to radical special-interest groups that favor high gas prices, and hear the cries of the millions of energy-strapped American families who are crying out for help.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Boehner Column: How Much Higher Do Gas Prices Have to Go Before Congress Acts?





    It’s no wonder that just 14 percent of the American public believes that Congress is doing a good job with such cynical moves as the recent vote on the ill-named “Drill Now” Act. This bill was the Democratic Majority’s answer to soaring gas prices, but the legislation would actually not do a single thing to lower prices and help us move toward energy independence.

    The American public is crying out for relief from high energy prices, and a growing majority of Americans wants Congress to act on comprehensive energy reforms that include ending the ban on new American drilling for oil and gas in Alaska and deep ocean energy zones. A bipartisan majority in the House comprised of Republicans and moderate rank-and-file Democrats supports such a comprehensive approach and is ready to vote for it. This has put Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democratic leaders in a quandary, because the radical anti-energy special-interest groups that helped put them in power are dead-set against the reforms the American people want.

    Desperate for a way out of this box, yet determined to prevent a vote from taking place on comprehensive energy reforms that include drilling, Democratic leaders hastily threw together the “DRILL Act” – a collection of hollow half-measures designed to look like a pro-drilling energy bill. They bypassed the committee process and rushed the bill to the floor on what’s called the suspension calendar. Members cannot offer amendments to bills brought to the floor on the suspension calendar, which meant the bipartisan pro-drilling coalition couldn’t offer proposals to strengthen the DRILL Act.

    But the leadership ploy had a weakness that proved to be its undoing. A bill brought to the floor on the suspension calendar must get a two-thirds majority to pass rather than a simple majority. Because a bipartisan majority in the House saw the DRILL Act for what it was – a sham – the legislation failed.

    Democratic leaders reacted to the bill’s failure with more spin, charging that “House Republicans” are “blocking energy reforms.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I and a bipartisan majority of members in the House are promoting what we call the “All of the Above” energy strategy. It includes expanding domestic and deep-ocean drilling, increasing production of American energy, increasing our investment into alternative fuels and promoting conservation. And it deserves an honest, up-or-down vote in Congress.

    So far Democratic leaders have refused to allow such a vote. Instead they defied the will of the American people and a bipartisan majority in the House and allowed a vote instead on the hapless DRILL Act. How weak and meaningless was this bill? Democratic leaders made a big deal out of a provision that would “reconstitute a ban on exporting Alaskan oil.” But the U.S. is not currently exporting Alaskan oil – and the bill a bipartisan majority in the House supports to allow new environmentally-safe drilling in the Alaskan coastal plain specifically requires all new oil pulled from the ground there to be sold within the United States.

    The bill also included a much-ballyhooed “Use It or Lose It” provision that would supposedly force companies to drill on land they’re leasing from the federal government. But “use it or lose it” is already the law of the land.

    But the DRILL Act’s greatest weaknesses lie in what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t support a comprehensive energy strategy that includes accelerated development of alternative fuels, greater conservation, and increased American energy production. These are the reforms the energy-strapped American people want brought to a vote. Instead they got window-dressing.

    There are few legislative days left before Congress will leave Washington for the August recess – a five-week break during which gas prices are expected to rise even higher. Ohio’s families and small businesses are already suffering. How much worse does it have to get before Speaker Pelosi allows the bipartisan energy reform plan to come to a vote?

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Butler County's Most Wanted



    Sherrif Jones (blog) has released a new set of Butler County's Most Wanted.

    Hat Tip: Hamilton Journal News, Staff Writer Lauren Pack

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Boehner Column: "We Need an 'All of the Above' Energy Strategy"





    We moved one step closer to developing our own natural resources to provide American energy with the White House announcement that President Bush will lift an executive ban on deep-ocean drilling. But that alone does nothing as it must be matched by congressional action.

    Unfortunately, those in control of the U.S. House stubbornly refuse to unlock U.S. resources to help bring down prices at the pump while we wait for emerging technologies and alternative energy sources to become viable for mass consumption. As American families and small businesses face record prices at the pump, they are counting on their leaders in Congress to work together on reforms to help reduce fuel costs. Ending this outdated ban now will help reduce our costly dependence on foreign sources of energy, empower states and local jurisdictions to make decisions about energy exploration, and will also create thousands of good-paying jobs.

    For weeks now, House Republicans have tried to bring legislation to a vote in the U.S. House that would help bring down gas prices and put us on a path to being energy independent. Time and again, those bills get caught up in political maneuverings from the Majority party that worships at the altar of radical environmentalism. We’re looking to open up remote, barren land in Alaska for drilling, unlock our deep-ocean resources and develop clean coal-to-liquids technology in what we call an “all of the above” energy strategy. All options should be put on the table, and lawmakers should have the opportunity to vote on them.

    While I am promoting the “all of the above” strategy, others in the House are clinging to a “no energy” agenda. Democratic House leaders have announced they would support supposedly speeding up development of energy resources out of Alaska ’s National Petroleum Reserve (NRP-A). But just last year, Democrats passed an energy bill that would actually discourage development in this area. Do they plan to overturn their previous legislation and join House Republicans in unlocking our natural resources for development?

    Democrats also claim they will “reconstitute a ban on the export of Alaskan oil” but we currently do not export Alaskan oil so “reconstituting” a ban would be pointless, although it makes for a good rhetoric. The much-heralded “use it or lose it” legislation also makes for good rhetoric but again, it’s completely unnecessary as oil and natural gas companies exploring on federally-leased land must produce results within five to 10 years or they will lose their lease. And the millions of acres some claim is just sitting around untouched is false. At today’s prices, it makes no sense that a company would sit on an oil find rather than develop it and get it onto the market.

    We have few legislative days left before the House is scheduled to begin its traditional August break. I believe that we should not leave Washington until lawmakers have the opportunity to vote on meaningful legislation that will help bring down gas prices and set us on the road to energy independence. The more time we waste, the more our working families and small business will suffer. The American public has made it clear that they expect their leaders in Washington to take action to provide some kind of relief from soaring energy prices. The Democratic-run House should stop defying the will of the people and join with Republicans to implement an “all of the above” comprehensive energy strategy that will end our near-total dependence on foreign resources and allow us to develop our own.

    Editorial: Fairfield Board Puts Levy on Ballot


    Imagine our surprise: the Fairfield Board of Education has put yet another levy on our ballots. In a Hamilton Journal News piece by Eric Schwartzberg, we learn the stakes:
    The 2-mill levy would raise $2,787,537 a year and help the school district fund specific long-term items, such a large equipment purchases and major maintenance items.

    Every five years since 1983, residents voted to renew the levy at the same millage to fund roofs, school buses, computers, security systems, paving, heating and ventilation systems, plumbing, windows and safety equipment.

    Board President Mark Morris said 2 mills would cost an extra $5 a year on a $100,000 home.

    If the levy does not pass, the district will have no permanent improvement funds for the first time in 25 years.
    We also learn that the board realizes that this is getting tired:
    Also at Monday's meeting, board member Jerome Kearns said he and Dan Murray collected information and data from many sources during the past couple of months to create five recommendations for immediate action including eliminating the middle school dean of students position, reducing building budgets by 5 percent, restructuring library services provided to elementary school students, discontinuing weekend and holiday building checks and implementing a hiring freeze for new positions beginning in school year 2009-10.

    "These recommendations would result in an immediate savings of $265,400 in the first year," he said.
    The Butler County Bugle stands with board member Arnold Engel on this one: he voted against the levy and also says that Kearns' estimate of saving $111,000 via the hiring freeze can not be rolled into the total amount of savings because that money had not been spent previously.
    "It's not a savings if you're saying you're not going to spend it," Engel said. "There's no reduction in cost."
    Reducing the cost of government, including public education, is imperative for the growth of the region and the state.

    It is a noble effort to demand high quality education, but it is absurd to think that we are doing so at the most effective price using the most efficient means. Our community deserves better.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    Editorial: "What is Happening in Hamilton?"

    Something very bad is happening in Hamilton and the fear is that the disease may spread to the rest of the communities in Butler County if action isn't taken to contain the damage. Two stories from this week perfectly illustrate the nature of the illness that afflicts the city of Hamilton. The first deals with the suggestion that Hamilton adopt a "kilowatt hour" tax and the second recommends that Hamilton install red light cameras.

    Butler County is doing pretty okay economically, which is a miracle considering the condition of our state's economy. Gas prices are high, but they aren't as high here as they are in neighboring counties. An energy crisis looms over the horizon and Republicans on city council want to impose a tax on energy consumption. Does that sound like a winner to you? An energy tax is absolutely the wrong move at this time and if Republicans do the deed, it will come back to bite them come election time. People remember it well when Republicans raise their taxes and their energy bills.

    Red light cameras are not about safety. Study after study has shown that safety conditions do not improve due to the presence or absence of these cameras. Like the energy tax, installing these cameras is about raising revenue to feed a particularly nasty habit: a bloated budget. There is no safety concern at play here. There was a story out of Springfield, OH where one of these cameras cited a driver for making a legal right turn on red. Bottom line: It is not the city's responsibility to enforce traffic laws, but rather the police departments. That the city would consider deputizing cameras for this job is a joke; that the real reason they are even considering such a move is purely financial is a travesty.

    The city of Hamilton ought to look at making spending cuts and reducing the tax burden in order to encourage commerce. That is a proven method of increasing revenue and a much better alternative to the various schemes and scams that city council is currently considering.

    Boehner Column: "Energy Independence"





    In a few days, we will mark the founding of our great nation, Independence Day. We’ll cheer our historic victory over the British monarch. We’ll celebrate the ingenuity and enterprising spirit that transformed us from 13 colonies to a world superpower of 50 states. And yet with all of our accomplishments, we are still incapable of meeting our own energy needs.

    This is insane. Americans are demanding action, but all you hear from the leaders in the Democratic Congress are excuses for why they refuse to schedule votes to put us on the road to energy independence. And the votes that are scheduled are on bills that would actually raise gas prices.

    Democratic leaders brought to the floor of the U.S. House a “patch” for the Alternative Minimum Tax that would raise taxes on America ’s domestic energy industry by $13.5 billion. As any small business owner can tell you, when the cost of doing business goes up – and taxes are one of those costs – prices must go up, meaning that consumers will pay more. We’re already paying more than $4 a gallon for gas; how much higher does that have to go before we do something about it?

    I recently hosted a telephone townhall with about 300 constituents from the 8th Congressional District and the number one topic by far was gas prices. One thing we discussed was the fact that we import $600 billion worth of oil annually. Think of the dramatic impact $600 billion would have if, instead of sending that money overseas to buy oil, we kept it here at home to create American jobs and create American energy. But instead of offering real solutions, the Democratic Congress is offering sham legislation.

    The House recently passed a bill to lower fares for mass transit as part of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called a “key component of a clean and green American energy future.” But that bill will force taxpayers to subsidize public transportation costs in big cities while doing absolutely nothing for people living in rural and suburban areas who don’t have access to public transportation.

    Speaker Pelosi wanted to pass a “Use It or Lose It” bill to force oil and natural gas companies to produce energy from the lands they lease from the federal government. But federal energy lease holders already must produce oil or natural gas within five to 10 years to remain in compliance with their lease terms and with the law. This law was passed in 1992, and Speaker Pelosi voted for it then.

    Democratic leaders refuse to let the House vote on a bill that would let oil companies build new refineries on closed military bases. We haven’t built a refinery in this country in 30 years, and while the existing ones have expanded somewhat, we need to build more to meet our ever-increasing demand. House Republicans have tried to introduce legislation to streamline the approval process for new refineries down to about seven years, compared with the current 10 to 20 years but those beholden to the radical environmental lobby continue to block it.

    Democratic leaders also refuse to let the House vote on increasing domestic oil and natural gas drilling. We need to drill for oil on the Arctic coastal plain. The total area we’re looking at is the size of South Carolina ; the area in which the drilling would take place is akin to putting a postage stamp on a football field. Another area where we need to drill is in deep-ocean energy zones far off the U.S. coast, where it’s estimated we could find 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The main reason we’re in this mess is because of misguided federal rules that prevent us from tapping into our own resources based on the mistaken notion that exploration in these remote areas cannot be done in a manner that does not harm our environment.

    If I believed we had other sources of energy to turn to right now, I might agree with leaving our natural resources under lock and key. But we don’t, and so it’s all the more critical that we start the process of creating more American energy. It’s going to take at least 20 years before alternative sources like wind, water and solar help meet a significant part of our energy demand. In the meantime, we have no other choice but to go after our own resources if we want to lower gas prices.

    As you may know, a nickname for the Republican Party is G.O.P., which stands for “Grand Old Party.” A Democratic colleague recently referred to us as the “Gas and Oil Party.” Compared with the Democrats’ stubborn position of no new domestic energy, no drilling for oil and natural gas, and their continued worship at the altar of radical environmentalism, I’m proud to belong to the party that is actually trying to do something to lower gas and oil prices and help make us energy independent.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Boehner Congratulates First Lakota West Student Named Presidential Scholar


    Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) congratulated Lakota West High School senior Raymond Xi on being named a Presidential Scholar.

    Raymond, who plans to attend Yale University in the fall where he will study mathematics and economics, is the first student in the Lakota School District to earn this honor.

    “Raymond Xi is an outstanding student, and I congratulate him on earning national recognition as a Presidential Scholar,” Boehner said. “Lakota West High School is one of the best schools in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, and this award also honors the dedication of the school community to giving students a well-rounded education.”



    Raymond’s many school activities include President of Mu Alpha Theta, the mathematics honor society; captain of the Academic Quiz team; Peer Counseling leader; and head of the Engineering Tech Society. He also plays piano, belongs to the National Honor Society and Junior Classical League and is a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. He is also a member of Lakota West’s Ultimate Frisbee Team.

    The Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson to recognize the nation’s outstanding high school scholars. Today, the program honors the achievements of both scholar and artists and to date, has honored more than 5,000 American high school students. Each year, one male and one female student from each state, the District of Columbia are selected as well as 15 at-large students, a number of students living abroad and up to 20 students in the arts are selected based on their academic achievements, service, leadership and creativity through the U.S. Department of Education.

    Raymond traveled to Washington, D.C., with his parents, Xiaobing and Hui Wang; his brother, James Yihua; and his grandmother, Duqing Chen.
    This is a huge accomplishment and a great reflection on our community. Congrats, Raymond! ...and best of luck at Yale!

    Boehner Congratulates 8th District Art Contest Winner Trun Vu


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today congratulated Lakota West High School sophomore Lyndsey Trun Vu for winning the 8th Congressional District Art Competition.

    “Trun is an accomplished artist, and I’m proud that her art work will represent Ohio ’s 8th Congressional District to the thousands of visitors who visit the U.S. Capitol,” Boehner said. “I want to thank all the students who participated in this year’s art competition. This is a great opportunity to showcase the talents of our high school artists.”



    Trun and her family – father, David; mother, Lehai; brothers, Tri and Minh Dao – visited Washington , D.C. , to attend a ceremony honoring all art competition winners from around the country. Trun joined with other district winners for a group photo on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, and all the students were honored at a reception.



    Trun’s winning piece “Looking Up” was done with ink using her fingerprints. Her picture will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year along with other district winners from around the country. The second- and third-place winners along with two pieces that took honorable mention will hang in Boehner’s West Chester and Troy offices where they may be viewed by the public. Currently, all art work is displayed in the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton through Tuesday, May 20.



    This year’s contest was judged by Cathy Mayhugh, Fitton Center for the Arts; Sue Samoviski, City of Sculpture ; Laine Snyder, Fairfield Community Arts Center ; and Karen Connolly, a local artist.

    The other winners are:

    2nd Place: Tatum Berry , senior at Lakota West High School for “Floating Chair. Medium: NuPastel.

    3rd Place: Kelsie Garrett, senior at Butler Technology Center for “ Hollywood .” Medium: watercolor/black acrylic paint.

    Honorable Mention: Maggie Hinkle, junior at Monroe High School for “The Bird & The Bee.” Medium: Photography.

    Honorable Mention: Chris Crabtree, senior at Butler Tech’s Options Academy – The Arts for “The Old Butler County Courthouse.” Medium: Digital Photography.
    Photos of all winners and art work submitted for the competition may be viewed in the Photo Gallery at www.johnboehner.house.gov.

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    Boehner Column: "New Technologies Deliver New Cleaner Energy"





    Usually when you hear the word “nuclear” it means that Iran is in the news again. But I think that we need to view “nuclear” in another light, as in safely and cleanly delivering on our energy needs and helping us achieve our goal of energy independence.

    While the price of gas has been slowly creeping upward in the years since President Clinton vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have opened up parts of a desolate plain in Alaska for oil exploration, the true consequences of President Clinton’s ill-advised decision have only recently become fully apparent. Families and small businesses this summer are being pummeled by skyrocketing gas prices that have put an unacceptable squeeze on their budgets.

    In a recent e-mail to constituents, I asked people to tell me how they’re coping with gas prices. I did this because I want to be able to share these real-life stories with the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington whose policies are blocking our nation’s path to energy independence. The response to my request was staggering. I heard from grandparents who are limiting their visits to grandchildren. I heard from farmers in rural areas who cannot drive to the post office more than twice a week to get their mail and families who are cutting back on groceries.

    Just as the United States has the capacity and the ingenuity to increase domestic production of oil in an environmentally-safe way to help lower gas prices, so too can we pursue technology to lower the cost of electricity. And we can do so using clean nuclear energy.

    Believe it or not, France can serve as a great example for us here at home when it comes to nuclear power. Today, 440 nuclear reactors in 31 countries generate 16 percent of the world’s electricity – including 30 percent in the European Union – but France most assuredly leads the way.

    Today, France derives 78 percent of its electricity from more than 50 reactors and “recycles” nuclear fuel for further use – a textbook example of “energy efficiency,” which we hear so much about these days in Washington.

    In a sign that we may have finally been turning the corner on nuclear energy, last year Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told a House committee that “I have a different view on nuclear than I did 20 years ago” because of advances in technology and that she believes nuclear energy “has to be on the table.” Unfortunately, the Speaker’s actions speak far louder than her words. In spite of its clear advantages to American consumers, the Democratic Congress has refused to promote nuclear power.

    For those of us here in Ohio , particularly near Fernald and the Miamisburg Mound Laboratory, the word “nuclear” may have a certain connotation. But, as other nations around the world have demonstrated, nuclear energy in the 21st Century is the safest, cleanest source of energy you can find. In fact, we’re proving it in this country as well. For more than a generation, nuclear technology has powered our Navy with incredible safety.

    It’s time now for our leaders in Washington to step up to the plate. The American people deserve a Congress that is willing to make these difficult decisions. Let’s begin to free our nation from the shackles of energy dependence through the clean, safe, and efficient nuclear power.

    Friday, June 6, 2008

    Boehner Column: We Can Increase American Energy in an Environmentally Sound Way





    For years I’ve been an advocate for increasing the production of American energy in an environmentally responsible way to liberate our nation from its dependence on foreign oil. And for years, such reforms have been blocked by Washington politics. This summer, we’re witnessing the bitter consequences of Washington ’s failure. Skyrocketing gas prices are hurting working families and destroying jobs right here in our region. It didn’t have to be this way. . .and it doesn’t have to stay this way.

    General Motors announced recently it will close its Moraine plant in two years because the products made there are no longer in demand. Sales of pick-up trucks and midsize SUVs are down since gas prices keep going up. Just days after the GM announcement, DMAX Ltd., also located in Moraine, announced that it would lay off 290 hourly workers at its diesel-engine plant by mid-July. The DMAX plant builds engines for large trucks and vans, which are also not in demand as gas prices continue their upward climb. What began as a steady drain on family budgets has turned into a dire situation. We’re losing good jobs.

    The situation is an outrage. It has been clear for decades that we must strengthen the development of alternative fuel sources and increase the production of American energy. It has also been clear for many years that these steps can be taken in an environmentally responsible way. Why hasn’t it happened? A lot of the blame goes to politicians who say one thing and then do another. Many have promised to increase our nation’s energy supply, but consistently voted against legislation to achieve it.

    We have plenty of oil spread throughout Alaska , Montana , North Dakota , the Rocky Mountains and offshore, but extreme regulations prohibit us from going after it. How ridiculous are our current restrictions? As columnist George Will recently noted, China is drilling for oil off U.S. shores, but American oil producers can’t. Congress has repeatedly denied them permission to do so, even over the objections of the coastal states nearest to the potential drilling zones. Instead we’re importing more than 60 percent of our oil from other countries, including a number of nations hostile to America .

    Meanwhile, our domestic resources remain locked away, including 86 billion barrels of American oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS); 10.4 billion barrels in a tiny, desolate portion of the remote Arctic coastal plain; and 2 trillion barrels of American oil shale in the Intermountain West.

    I’m for increased domestic production, and I have been for years. But don’t take my word for it; look at my voting record. Ninety-one percent of current House Republicans (I’m one of them) have historically voted to increase environmentally-responsible production of American-made oil and natural gas. By contrast, 86 percent of House Democrats have consistently voted against it.

    Here are just a few of the most recent examples:

    Aug. 4, 2007: the House voted down an amendment to H.R. 3221 that would have included provisions for more oil and gas from Alaska , the OCS and oil shale; removed bureaucratic obstacles to allow construction of more refineries; and promoted more research and development into efficient energy sources. I voted for this amendment; Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) voted against it.

    June 29, 2006: while I was serving as House Majority Leader, the Republican-led House passed H.R. 4761, a bill that would have provided incentives to coastal states to permit offshore oil and natural gas exploration under strict environmental protection. I voted for this bill; Speaker Pelosi voted against it.

    June 7, 2006: the Republican-led House passed H.R. 5254, a bill that sought to lower gas prices by expediting the permitting process for expanding oil refineries. I voted for this bill; Speaker Pelosi voted against it.

    May 26, 2006: the House passed H.R. 5429, a bill supporting environmentally-sound oil and gas exploration and production in the Alaskan coastal plain. I voted for this bill; Speaker Pelosi voted against it.

    These are just some of the most recent examples of my votes. You can find more votes on my website, www.johnboehner.house.gov.

    I don’t believe $4 gas was the “new direction” Americans believed Congress would take under Speaker Pelosi, but unfortunately that’s where we are. And under Democratic leadership, not only is the U.S. House not doing anything to increase production of American energy, it’s actually trying to enact stricter regulations that further hamper our chances of achieving energy independence. Unless we take immediate steps to increase our own production in an environmentally sound way, we will remain dependent on foreign and oft-times hostile regimes.

    Increasing production is just one of the steps we need to take. We also need to conserve more. We need biofuels. We need alternative fuels. We need to have a real serious conversation about the cleanest form of energy, nuclear power. But none of this will make a difference unless we’re willing to explore our own land here in America and increase domestic energy production in an environmentally safe way. We can do this.

    House Republicans have announced we will force a steady stream of votes in Congress in an effort to get the energy reform process moving. We need your help to get Congress to take action. Washington is broken. Working together, we can begin to fix it. And we must.

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Boehner Column: Energy Independence America Deserves



    Energy Independence America Deserves


    Gas prices in Ohio soared over $4 per gallon last week, and that’s a record I am sure families would rather not have achieved. We can waste our time pointing fingers and finding someone else to blame, but the fact is we cannot meet our own energy demands. When it comes to energy production, we’re stuck in the 1970s while our global competitors are going after 21st century technologies. We haven’t built a refinery in the United States in 30 years, and 70 percent of our energy needs are supplied by other countries. We have to stop this dependence on foreign energy; we must begin to meet our own needs.

    Simply pointing out that we keep going in the wrong direction is not enough, which is why I am pleased to lead House Republicans in introducing an energy agenda that offers both short- and long-term solutions.

    To help ease pain at the pump in the short-term, I am supporting legislation that would impose an immediate freeze on public money for lawmakers’ pet projects (“earmarks”) and use the resulting savings to reduce the federal budget deficit and suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax for the summer. No one should mistake this for a comprehensive solution, and I’m under no illusions that this alone is going to ease the pain motorists are feeling. But stopping the earmarks is something we ought to do anyway in Congress until fundamental changes are made in the spending process, and using the billions of dollars in savings to reduce the deficit and provide even a small measure of relief for families at the gas pump seems like a much more responsible use than frittering it away on pet projects most Americans will never see or use.

    Even more important, though, are the long-term solutions embraced by House Republicans that will boost supplies of all forms of energy here at home. The reforms we’re advocating will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and remove the threat of blackmail from foreign dictators who control our energy supplies. At the same time, we will be creating jobs here at home and growing our economy. This is a win-win for everyone, and House Republicans are aggressively seeking solutions to the challenges we face.

    First, we will increase the production of American-made energy in an environmentally responsible way. This includes the exploration of next generation oil, natural gas and coal, as well as the production of advanced alternative fuels like cellulosic and clean coal-to-liquids all the while protecting our natural resources.

    Second, we will promote clean and reliable energy sources like advanced nuclear and next generation coal, while encouraging clean power from renewable energy such as wind and hydroelectric power. Nuclear energy has proven itself as a safe, carbon-free and environmentally-friendly alternative. France relies on nuclear power for 80 percent of its electricity needs, while here in America it meets just 19 percent of our need. Clearly, we must do better to utilize this energy resource.

    We use an estimated 20 million barrels of oil each day, and we haven’t been able to meet our own demand since 1970. As I mentioned previously, we haven’t built a refinery in more than 30 years and there are thousands of capped wells that, while some may have run dry, could help supply us with oil.

    A recent report from the U.S. Department of the Interior notes that an incredible 62 percent of oil on federal land is inaccessible for development and another 30 percent is restricted. This leaves just 8 percent of America ’s 31 billion barrels of on-shore oil available for use. The report also states that of our nation’s 231 billion cubic feet of on-shore natural gas, only 10 percent is accessible. Is it any wonder we’re paying such steep gasoline and energy costs when the vast majority of our domestic supply is tied up by extreme regulations that prohibit us from going after them?

    Under the House Republican energy agenda, we will cut red tape and increase the supply of American-made fuel and energy to lower prices. Heavy-handed bureaucratic regulations and limitations on the construction of new oil refineries have decreased energy supplies and increased prices.

    Finally, we will encourage greater efficiency by offering conservation tax credits to Americans who make their homes, cars and businesses more energy efficient. This will give more families and businesses the chance to take advantage of the newest, most efficient energy technologies available.

    All we’ve seen from Washington lately are more of the same failed approaches that caused the long gas lines and rationing we had in the 1970s. Working families across the 8th Congressional District today are feeling the pain of these failed policies. It is inconceivable that we would continue down that same path again, especially when we have the technology, the know-how and the desire to make a change that will give us the energy independence we deserve.

    Boehner represents Ohio ’s 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County . He was first elected to Congress in 1990.

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    Boehner Column: Using Our Troops to Score Political Points Does Not Honor Their Sacrifice

    By Rep. John Boehner:

    Earlier this year, Congress worked quickly to pass a bipartisan stimulus package to help middle class families and small businesses and boost our economy. We were able to accomplish this because leaders in both parties passed a clean bill, refusing to let it turn into a “Christmas tree” with all sorts of unrelated spending attached to it.

    Unfortunately, this good example wasn’t repeated when it came time to craft legislation to fund our troops in harm’s way. Instead, Democratic congressional leaders tried to use and abuse our troops by attaching tax hikes and spending increases to what should have been a clean bill to fund our men and women in combat. Outraged legislators who support the troops and their mission refused to go along with the scheme, and it fell apart. I was among these legislators who took a stand on behalf of our troops by voting “present” on the bill instead of being complicit with the politicians’ exploitation of our military personnel.

    At this point, the Majority should have done the right thing. It should have put a “clean” troop funding bill on the floor for an up or down vote, and sent it to the President. Instead, the Democratic Majority stubbornly did nothing. And the result was that Congress let our troops down by failing to pass a clean troop funding bill before Memorial Day.

    The consequences of this failure are considerable. Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in early May, “We need [the troop spending bill] very badly before the Memorial Day recess. We stop paying soldiers on the 15th of June and we have very little flexibility with respect to that.”

    Congress heard the Admiral’s warning. But the Democrats who run Congress didn’t heed it. Instead, congressional leaders saw an opportunity to advance their political agendas. Knowing the troop funding bill is popular and certain to pass, politicians in Congress tried to attach tax increases and unrelated spending increases to it – in effect, exploiting our troops by forcing them to carry unpopular political provisions they knew could not pass Congress on their own.

    Attaching these “riders” is the sort of stunt that has made Americans extremely cynical about Washington . That anti-war forces in the U.S. House would employ this scheme right before Memorial Day was irresponsible at best and depraved at worst.

    Congress owes our military men and women the funds they need for success in Iraq and Afghanistan . That means passing a bill free of unnecessary riders trying to enact an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and add-ons such as $210 million to cover cost-overruns for the U.S. Census Bureau. The American people know our troops are carrying a heavy burden on their shoulders, and they don’t like the idea of Washington politicians exploiting our troops by using them as a vehicle for tax hikes and spending increases. By voting “present,” we were able to stop this scheme and give Congress another chance to do the right thing by passing a “clean” troop funding bill.

    Unfortunately, the Majority that runs Congress still didn’t do the right thing. Unhappy that it couldn’t get its way, the Democratic congressional leadership left town for the Memorial Day recess without holding a vote on a clean bill. Then it had the audacity to launch political attacks against legislators who had refused to go along with its cynical scheme, distorting their “present” votes as a vote against the troops. Never mind that dozens of Democratic legislators, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) herself, voted “no” on the troop funding bill itself.

    If, as Admiral Mullen warned Congress, the Pentagon is forced to stop paying soldiers by the middle of June, it will negatively affect military families while our troops are fighting overseas. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen should not have to worry about the financial well-being of their husbands, wives, sons, or daughters while they’re halfway across the world facing insurgent bullets and roadside bombs.

    Our fighting men and women deserve to be honored for the sacrifices they made and continue to make in defense of our freedom. Lawmakers in the U.S. House can show their gratitude by passing a clean spending bill and giving our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan the resources they need to win and come home safely. It’s disappointing that the Democratic Congress was so devoted to the idea of using our troops to carry unrelated spending and tax increases that it went home for Memorial Day without passing legislation to fund our men and women in harm’s way.

    Friday, April 25, 2008

    Boehner Column: "It’s Time for a Bipartisan Plan to Lower Fuel Costs"




    We recently marked the two-year anniversary of congressional Democrats saying they had a “commonsense plan” to lower fuel costs. Problem is, that plan has never been revealed and gas prices are, on average, $1.25 per gallon higher than in 2006.

    The rising costs are having severe effects not just on family budgets but on industries and local governments. The Richmond Palladium-Item reported on April 2 that surging gas prices forced that city’s police department to have fewer patrol cars. Some school districts in Bowling Green , KY , are looking at cutting bus routes and even, as reported by WKBO News, “going to four day school weeks” because fuel prices are so high.

    In Texas , volunteer fire departments are reducing their equipment budgets to be able to afford gas, and the U.S. Department of the Interior recently noted that the trucking industry is poised to spend $135 billion on fuel this year – a $23 million increase from 2007.

    To put the true extent of this into perspective, consider that the average American family consumes 1,143 gallons of fuel per year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Based on the $2.33 price per gallon of gasoline when the Democrats took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, a family would have spent $2,663 per year on gas. But based on today’s price – a whopping $3.56 per gallon – that same family would spend about $4,069 per year – that’s $1,406 less for summer vacations… $1,406 less for necessities like food and clothes… and $1,406 less for retirement or college savings.

    Memorial Day weekend – the traditional start of summer travel season – is just around the corner. Until we begin to address our problems with regard to domestic supply, we will remain at the mercy of foreign fuel suppliers and you will continue to pay higher and higher costs. A recent study by Canadian bank CIBC states that the price of oil is expected to soar to $225 a barrel by 2012 as supplies tighten. The cost of a barrel currently hovers around $120.

    Enough is enough. Empty rhetoric and political promises have done absolutely nothing to lower fuel costs. So far in the 110th Congress, not one energy bill brought to a vote in the U.S. House has contained a single watt or gallon of new domestic energy, despite assurances from Democratic leaders that they have a “commonsense plan.” It’s time to see that plan. But if there is no such blueprint that will take real action to reduce costs without raising taxes, then it’s high time they stop playing partisan games and work with House Republicans to develop a plan that will work.

    The best way to bring down prices is by increasing all forms of energy – such as biofuels and nuclear – and especially by increasing our domestic supply of oil in an environmentally responsible way. The U.S. Geological Survey recently announced that the Bakken Shale that stretches across Montana and North Dakota may hold as much as 3.7 billion barrels of oil. The irony is that we have plenty of oil right here at home – more than 10 billion barrels in Alaska , 30 billion barrels offshore and an incredible 1.3 trillion barrels in the Rocky Mountains . We just can’t go after it because of extreme environmental regulations.

    We can – and we must – find a balance between being responsible stewards of the environment while producing our own energy. In the midst of a slowing economy, falling home values and soaring costs of living, these fuel costs are a heavy premium for working families, particularly those in suburban and rural communities who are paying more and more just to drive to work each day. Isn’t it time for a bipartisan, comprehensive plan to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, lower costs here at home and invest in all forms of energy to provide relief to working families, create American jobs and grow our economy?

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Boehner Column: "Fuel Prices Rising, Taxes Hikes Threatened . No Relief in Sight From Wasteful Washington Spenders"




    It’s possible that by the time you read this column, the federal government will have already cashed the check you wrote for your 2007 taxes. And if you think that was bad, wait until you see how big a check you may write very soon if Congress passes all the tax hikes it’s threatening.

    Three times in one recent week, the Democratic-led U.S. House refused to side with taxpayers, instead choosing to continue their tax-and-spend ways. Using a proposal introduced by my colleague, Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan , House Republicans forced three votes on the House Floor to try to stop the largest tax hike in American history. Rep. Walberg’s bill, the Tax Increase Prevention Act, would stop the $683 billion tax increase passed by Democrats in March as part of their Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposal.

    Stopping this massive tax hike will help every American taxpayer, including low- and middle-class families, working parents with children and seniors. With record-high gas prices, rising food costs and declining home values, the last thing we need and the last thing our economy needs is a tax increase.

    The tax relief enacted previously by House Republicans led to a robust economy, low unemployment and increased savings for working families. But the Democrats’ budget proposal assumed that this tax relief will expire, sending tax rates soaring: personal income taxes will go up, the child tax credit will be slashed in half, the marriage penalty will be re-introduced, the death tax resurrected, taxes on dividends and investments will go up, and even seniors will see their retirement savings taxed at higher rates.

    One of the hardest things for middle-class families right now is they can’t seem to catch a break. In today’s economy, it’s getting harder and harder to save, especially with every spare dollar seeming to go to rising fuel costs. And another week has gone by without hearing from Democrats what their plan is to lower gas prices, as they promised two years ago. Instead, gas prices have hit a nationwide average of $3.44 per gallon, according to AAA. Experts are predicting that prices will spike even higher in May, and the summer driving season isn’t even upon us yet.

    The harsh reality is that since January 2007, gas prices have increased so much that motorists are paying $1.11 more per gallon to fill up than they were before the beginning of last year. The Associated Press recently reported that fuel costs “appear poised to resume their seemingly endless trek toward a record high milestone of an average $3.50 a gallon. Forecasters call for gas to peak as high as $3.65 within a month.”

    Our working families deserve better than this.

    We are too dependent on foreign oil. We must increase domestic production by building more refineries and opening up areas of the country to exploration in an environmentally-safe and responsible manner. At the same time, we must commit ourselves to develop long-term energy alternatives. The benefits of expanding our energy portfolio are not just in reducing prices and reducing our dependency on foreign oil but increasing opportunities for new family-wage jobs and growing American industries.

    We need to advance commonsense, comprehensive energy solutions that increase American supplies in all forms. Instead, we’re stuck with bad ideas like a 55-cent increase in the federal gas tax and raising other taxes to pay for wasteful Washington spending while middle-class families struggle to make ends meet. It’s time to put aside political maneuvering and work together to bring relief to working families tired of Washington double-speak and empty rhetoric.

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Boehner Column: "Killing Colombia Free Trade Agreement Maintains Economically Dangerous Status Quo"




    It was bad news for our region recently when the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which would have created good jobs for Ohio and opened new markets for Ohio farm exports, was killed by political gamesmanship in Congress. In refusing to bring this agreement before the House for a vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that she puts the concerns of big labor bosses above those of Ohio ’s farmers and working families.

    Agriculture is the backbone of the economy here in the 8th Congressional District. We rely not only on current markets to move our products but also on expanding to new ones. Powerful labor bosses in Washington , however, oppose the Colombia trade agreement. They contributed huge sums of money to the Democratic Party in 2006. They’ve pledged to pump even larger amounts into the Party’s coffers in 2008. And in exchange, they got what they wanted on the Colombia trade deal: it was unceremoniously killed by the Democratic Speaker of the House.

    Democratic leaders’ political maneuvering clearly tells our trading partners, allies and our own workers that catering to special interests is more important than creating jobs and helping our economy grow.

    For the past 15 months, Administration officials have negotiated with Congressional leaders to find a responsible compromise on a trade agreement that would let U.S. goods enter an important South American market virtually tariff-free. Current rates vary, but U.S. cars going into Colombia face a 35 percent tariff; furniture is hit with a 20 percent tariff; and high-quality U.S. beef is socked with an 80 percent tariff. Compare that to Colombian goods, which since 1991 have enjoyed almost complete duty-free access to our markets.

    In February, the House voted to extend the Andean Free Trade Preferences Agreement that allowed Colombian goods to continue entering the U.S. virtually tariff-free while maintaining the unfair status quo on our exports. The intent of the Colombian agreement was to eliminate the barriers on our goods entering that country, which would lead to more jobs here in Ohio and throughout the country as businesses would no longer need to worry about meeting stiff tariff rates.

    In addition to being a valuable potential trading partner, Colombia is America ’s leading democratic ally in South America . It has waged a long and so-far successful battle against drug traffickers and terrorists that seek to destroy its government and establish a kind of Communist narco-state. Efforts to destabilize Colombia ’s government are supported by leftist Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, a committed ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuban dictators Fidel and Raul Castro. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has repeatedly said that the best help America can provide against Colombia ’s adversaries – who are our adversaries – is to pass the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

    President Uribe was certainly not alone in encouraging us to pass this important agreement. Many valuable international partners expressed a desire to see Congress take swift action on the agreement and send it to the President for his signature, arguing it would send an overt signal of our shared desire to see stability and democracy in Latin America . Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pointedly addressed security concerns in a speech last September before the Council on Foreign Relations. “If the U.S. turns its back on its friends in Colombia , this will set back our cause far more than any Latin American dictator could hope to achieve,” he said. In fact, an Investor’s Business Daily editorial grimly notes that the political maneuver used to kill this agreement was being called the “Chavez Rule” in the Latin America media.

    Indeed, having seen the political games that just played out, how can any nation trust that future trade agreements made with the United States will not meet the same fate? Speaker Pelosi’s unfortunate decision is likely to wreak havoc on our international trade commitments and on future attempts to open new markets for goods produced by American farmers and producers.

    A complaint that frequently surfaced among those seeking to kill this agreement was that the administration allegedly did not consult with congressional leaders. Let me set the record straight on that. There have been hundreds of meetings over the last 15 months in which the administration reached out to the Democratic leadership in Congress in hopes of reaching mutual agreement on how and when the treaty should be considered. Labor and environmental standards identical to those included at the behest of Democratic leaders in the Peru Free Trade Agreement that the House approved in February were written into the Colombian agreement. There were also serious conversations between the administration and the Speaker of the House specifically over the past six to eight weeks.

    Despite all of this, the Colombia Free Trade Agreement become another in a long list of legislative victims of election-year political gamesmanship. What could be more fair to our workers than to provide access for our goods to important new markets in South America virtually tariff-free? Our global competitors are already working to expand their exports to Colombia through trade agreements. By killing our agreement with Colombia , Democratic leaders sacrificed more than 200 years of international credibility for the shallowest possible short-term gain. This trade agreement was good for our farmers, ranchers, small business owners and other American exporters who will now continue under an unfair and economically dangerous status quo.

    Boehner represents Ohio ’s 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County . He was first elected to Congress in 1990.