Hoyer Statement In Opposition To Republican Energy Bill

Whip Calls For a "Real Energy Strategy to Strengthen America's National Security"

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement on the House floor in opposition to the Republican Energy Bill:

"Mr. Speaker, the United States of America needs a real energy strategy - a strategy that not only reduces our nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil but also strengthens our national security.

"As a bipartisan group of 26 national security officials - including respected experts such as Robert McFarlane, President Reagan's national security advisor, and James Woolsey, President Clinton's CIA Director -recently stated in a letter to President Bush (and I quote):

"It should be a top national security priority of the United States to significantly reduce its consumption of foreign oil. . . . The United States' dependence on imported petroleum poses a risk to our homeland security and economic well-being."

"Yet, Mr. Speaker, the Republican energy bill on the Floor today does virtually nothing to reduce America's dependence on petroleum products.

"In fact, traditional energy sources such as oil and natural gas reap 93 percent of the tax incentives in this bill (or $7.5 billion). Renewable energy and conservation receive only 7 percent.

"Even President Bush, a Texas oilman, was provoked to say last week (and I quote):

"I will tell you with $55 [barrels of] oil, we don't need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives. What we need is to put a strategy in place that will help this country over time become less dependent."

"Yet, at a time of record profits for the oil and gas industries, this Republican Majority disagrees with the leader of its own Party.

"This bill is not a real energy strategy. It is a rehash of the same policies and incentives that have made us more energy dependent, not less.

"It would provide more than $22 billion to the oil, gas, and other energy industries in tax breaks, direct spending and authorizations.

"It would shift the costs of MTBE cleanup from manufacturers to the American taxpayers.

"It would significantly weaken the Clean Air Act, and it contains other anti-environment provisions.

"And unbelievably, at a time of record gas prices, this Republican bill would actually increase gas prices.

"That's right, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer. Apparently, this Republican Majority believes you need to pay more for gasoline. According to the Bush Administration's own Energy Department, this bill would increase gas prices by three cents and have almost no effect on production, consumption or prices.

"There is a reason that this energy bill is going nowhere fast. It is bad policy and it fails to address the needs of this great nation.

"I urge my colleagues to vote against it."

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