This summer, on the floor of the House of Representatives, the lights went out and the microphones were turned off - but not to preserve energy.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the rest of the Democratic Congress made a clear statement in August when they refused to remain in session to deal with the energy crisis. That message was one of continued ignorance of any tangible solutions, and represented a failure to attempt to bring down the price of gasoline and energy for hard working Americans.
On Tuesday, the Democratic Leadership illuminated for Americans what it means to have a one-track mind by bringing to the floor of the House of Representatives HR 6899, the misnamed "Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act." Created in the dead of night without any input from Republicans, the Democrats' energy bill is a sham that does nothing about our nation's energy crisis. Far from having an open debate and discussion on this critical issue, the Democrats filed this 290-page bill the night before, and then brought it up as the first order of business on the House floor Tuesday under a closed rule.
Some lowlights of the bill include:
- No drilling for oil within 50 miles of states' shores, effectively eliminating 88 percent of our offshore oil reserves.
- No revenue sharing for states that do decide to opt-in for drilling over 50 miles off their shores - providing little incentive for them to permit oil drilling.
- No new refineries - the plan contains no provisions to cut red tape and increase American refining capacity.
- No expansion of emission-free nuclear power, and no development of advanced clean coal and coal-to-liquid technologies and resources.
- No lawsuit reform, to prevent frivolous lawsuits from radical interest groups intent on stopping the environmentally sound exploration of American energy solely for political purposes.
There is no doubt that something needs to be done now about our energy crisis. It is almost criminal of Congress to put hard working citizens in a position where they have to decide between paying for food and paying their energy bill. The energy solution we need is one like my Republican colleagues proposed in HR 6566, the "American Energy Act." Often referred to as the "all-of-the-above" bill, HR 6566 would provide three main solutions to solving our country's energy crisis.
The "American Energy Act" would: increase American-made energy, improve energy conservation and promote alternative energy technologies. In other words, it would release us from dependence on expensive foreign oil, and would no longer keep our rich energy resources under lock-and-key.
"The American Energy Act" is the most efficient way for us to soon see relief at the pump, return to a strong economy, and show the world that the United States can depend on its own resources. This is the bill that Congress should have voted on, not the Democratic alternative, which provides Americans with the incorrect "none of the above" options.
U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) represents Wisconsin's Fifth District.