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e-News June 26, 2009

1. House Prepares to Pass a Job-Killing Energy Tax
2. Bad Idea of the Week
3. Supports the Port

House Passes a Job-Killing Energy Tax

Moments ago, the House narrowly approved Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s national energy tax and “cap and trade” program.  Even though no Member of the House has actually read the 1,500 page bill (because the final provisions, including a 300-page amendment, were released at 3 a.m.!) the Speaker scheduled the measure for a vote today.

While the American people may not know the details of the so-called American Clean Energy Security Act, Rep. Frelinghuysen knows enough about the measure to determine that this bill is not the market-based solution to climate change that America needs.  As a result, he voted “no.” 

“This massive and complicated bill boils down to this: it will kill thousands of American jobs at a time at precisely the time we should be promoting growth and job creation,” he said.  “It will also increase costs for every American family without any assurance that it will actually improve the environment.  Frankly, enacting tax increases during a recession is lunacy!”
There are many reasons why this legislation is the wrong bill at the wrong time for America. 

Speaker Pelosi’s National Energy Tax:

1. Will Impose a National Energy Tax on Every Single American.  If you drive a car, buy food or a product manufactured in America, or have the audacity to flip on a light switch, you’ll pay more under Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax.  Here’s what Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) had to say about the tax: “Nobody in this country realizes that cap and trade is a tax.  And it’s a great big one.”  And of course, President Obama agrees, saying as recently as last year that electricity rates will “skyrocket” under his plan.

2. Will Cause Electricity Bills to “Skyrocket.”  Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax will increase electricity bills for every American and small business.  Incredibly, Duke Energy, a major utility company that would receive free allowances under the bill, has already requested a rate hike of 13.5 percent in anticipation of the energy tax. 

3. Will Cost American Jobs, Shipping Them Overseas to China & India.  According to recent study, Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax will cost 2.3 to 2.7 million private sector jobs each year, even after the creation of new “green” jobs.  The plan will impose tough new requirements and increased costs on American manufacturers – higher costs that they won’t face overseas, in places like China, India, or Mexico.  This will cost American jobs in two ways: either domestic manufacturers will move overseas directly, or American companies in energy-intensive industries will be driven out of business by overseas rivals that undercut their prices.   Frankly, this bill is a gift to our overseas economic adversaries that “keeps on giving.”

4. Will Not Improve the Environment.  Even supporters of the national energy tax concede that unilateral American action will do nothing to improve Earth’s environment unless global competitors like China and India curb their emissions, too.  The response from overseas: don’t hold your breath!  According to the Washington Post, “But, after their talk this week, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China would not agree to reduce its emissions…  Spokesman Qin Gang said…“[I]t is natural for China to have some increase in its emissions, so it is not possible for China in that context to accept a binding or compulsory target.’”  And, according to Xinhua News, Shyam Saran, India’s principal negotiator on climate change, discussed India’s reluctance to capping its greenhouse gas emissions, saying, “[W]e don’t want to announce targets which we have no intention of achieving!”

5. Will Cause Gasoline and Diesel Prices to Spike Further. Gasoline prices have spiked in recent weeks, yet Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax will make gasoline and diesel even more expensive for families and small businesses.  The Heritage Foundation estimates that it will raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 58 percent.  Not only is that troubling to middle-class families trying to make ends meet, but small businesses – such as America’s truck drivers who are responsible for transporting food and other products across the country – are especially vulnerable during an economic recession. 

6. Will Send Billions of U.S. Taxpayer Dollars Overseas.  In addition to sending American jobs overseas, under Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax, between 2012 and 2019, the United States will send at least $302 billion in taxpayers’ money directly to foreign countries for international “offsets,” international tropical deforestation, international adaptation, and international technology transfer. 

The Week Just Past

“It did not make many headlines, but this week, the federal government auctioned off $104 billion in debt in order to raise money to finance government operations. This auction set a new record in terms of debt sold in a single week. The previous record was set in last week of April of this year when the government auctioned off $101 billion in debt, a record that was matched again in May.

“We expect that over the next seven years the interest payments on just the amount of debt we run up this week will be approximately $11 billion.
“And that assumes we pay off this debt when it comes due in two, five, and seven years. However, under the President’s budget we will still be accruing more debt in two, five, and seven years, so the more likely scenario is that we have to pay off this debt by raising even more debt to cover the principal and possibly even the interest.

“To me, this is a graphic illustration of how this country is living far, far beyond its means!

“And what does America get for this $11 billion? Absolutely nothing. This $11 billion will not build one road, feed one hungry child, provide one college loan, or train, equip and support one soldier protecting our national security. It simply helps this nation finance our government's current spending spree.

“Clearly, this nation is spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much.  And, we’ve allowed the government to inject itself far too deeply into our market-based economy.  Entrepreneur Ian Bremmer wrote in a recent edition of Foreign Affairs magazine, “Until very recently, New York City was the world’s financial capital.  It no longer is even the financial capital of the United States.  That distinction now falls to Washington, where members of Congress and the executive branch make decisions with long-term market impact on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

“And I would add: this has got to stop!”

Frelinghuysen Supports the Port…

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development has approved a critical boost in funding for the Port of New York and New Jersey harbor deepening project, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced Thursday.  

Under provisions of the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill approved by the Subcommittee, funding for the harbor deepening project was raised to $92 million, up from $64 million proposed by the Obama Administration this Spring.  

“The Port is a major economic driver in our region, generating nearly 300,000 jobs and over $70 billion of commerce a year serving 37 million people,” said Frelinghuysen, the Ranking Republican on the Energy and Water Subcommittee.  “I added $28 million back to the harbor deepening program to keep the program on track.  After all, if large ships cannot navigate the shallow port channels, they will take their cargo - and their jobs - elsewhere on the East Coast.”

For years, the Army Corps of Engineers has been working to dredge the main shipping channel of the Port to a depth of 50 feet, allowing the largest ocean-going vessels to use the port’s facilities.

Earlier this week, Frelinghuysen sent a letter to President Obama, co-signed by 17 members of the New Jersey and New York House delegations, urging him to reconsider his position on funding for the Port.

….boosts veterans funding…

The House Appropriations Committee this week approved the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for fiscal year that begins on October 1.  

The bill provides a 15% increase in funding for programs administered by the Veterans Administration (VA) and a budget process change designed to ensure that the VA’s medical programs and services continue uninterrupted.    The VA budget has been delayed 17 out of the last 22 years, disrupting the lives of our veterans.  

…funds key laboratory improvements at Picatinny Arsenal

Included in the bill was $10.2 million to fund Phase 2 of the construction of a new state-of-the-art Ballistic Evaluation Facility (BEF) at Picatinny Arsenal.  When completed, the BEF will result in a “one-of-a-kind” research and testing facility which will reduce Army operational overhead and maintenance costs and improve safety for workers on the base.  The facility will provide near-term and long-range benefits to the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force.

Bad Idea of the Week:

The Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee reportedly wants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums.  Rep. Barney Frank (MA) wrote in a letter to the CEOs of both companies that the new lending standards could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Those who forget the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them. 
Recommended Reading:

The Defense Department’s “independent” review of national security policy may not be so “independent” after all:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/70358.html