Despite some easing over the past month, buying a tank of gas still takes a big bite out of the monthly budget — money that could be used for life’s other necessities.
Expensive energy squeezes hardworking Americans’ take-home pay and family budgets. And higher prices also put stress on job-creating small businesses, causing growth and profits to shrink. Worse yet, with the summer driving season just around the corner, increased demand could push the cost of gasoline even higher.
The voters have spoken, and they want a new Washington. Congressional Republicans have heard that message loud and clear: The Obama/Pelosi experiment has failed, and the American people want an end to their job-killing policies.
Republicans understand the people’s message, and we are ready to get to work. The votes of the Congress under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) along with President Barack Obama’s unchecked regulations have forced businesses to ship jobs overseas and threaten to send energy prices sky-high.
These are challenging times, and our nation is at a crossroads. Our economy is ailing, unemployment is soaring, spending is out of control, and deficits are at record levels. And yet, rather than pursue sound policies that create jobs, the administration remains steadfast in its efforts to push ahead with its job-killing "cap-and-tax" scheme.
Nearly one year ago, the House first embarked on its cap-and-tax experiment. The carbon mandates under the House-passed bill would mean that the United States could not emit more in the year 2050 than we emitted in 1910, requiring us to scale back our emissions to a per capita level equivalent to that of the tiny coastal nation of Belize.
In February, as the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors were lighting and heating homes coast to coast, officials in the new administration signaled that they were pulling the plug on the Yucca Mountain repository for spent nuclear fuel. An alarmingly swift demise for Yucca Mountain despite 20 years of planning, more than $10 billion spent and more than $33 billion collected from ratepayers.
[IMGCAP(1)]In its haste, the administration neglected to address alternative plans to store spent fuel or express a thoughtful vision for the future of nuclear — it simply shut down work at Yucca Mountain, with complete disregard to the scientific community’s seal of approval on the integrity of the repository. It is confounding that the administration would pursue such a drastic shift in nuclear policy without offering viable solutions for managing spent fuel from the 104 reactors that dot the landscape in 31 different states.
These are very difficult economic times for our nation. Michigan in particular has been hit hard. Despite our dire economic circumstances, Congress is set to embark on a costly cap-and-tax scheme to address climate change, and it is the nation’s working families who are in the cross hairs.
The statistics are startling. According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology model of a 100 percent auction cap-and-tax, the American people will be taxed $366 billion in 2015 — four times as much as the president’s estimate of $80.3 billion for that year. Job losses under such a plan could be more than 6 million. Increased energy costs would near $1 trillion in 2030. Increases in electricity costs could be more than 100 percent.
Yes, it’s been a busy time on Capitol Hill — whittling away our time in Congress naming various post offices and recognizing just about every group under the sun from bowl-game winners to Little League champions to you name it. We have even found the time to haul Roger Clemens up to testify on the most pressing of national issues: whether or not he took steroids. What we are not addressing is what my constituents in southwest Michigan, and I’m sure others across the country, care about most: rising gas prices. At a time of record gas prices, Congress did have the “wisdom” to vote to raise taxes on the oil industry, which, if enacted, would
undoubtedly be passed along to all consumers in the form of even higher prices.
In February 2006, President Bush signed into law legislation that designates midnight on Feb. 17, 2009, as the date to complete the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting. Digital television is an innovative new type of over-the-air broadcasting technology that enables TV stations to provide dramatically clearer pictures and better sound quality. The transition from analog to digital television represents the most significant advancement of television technology since color TV was introduced decades ago.
Who will be affected once the proverbial switch is flipped? Cable, satellite and telephone companies will take steps to continue providing service for their television subscribers. These consumers will not be noticeably impacted by the DTV transition. The cable and broadcast industries already have stepped up to the plate to help educate the public about the DTV transition, with still more than a year to go, by introducing public education campaigns that will total nearly $1 billion. It is comforting to know that the industry understands the critical importance of educating Americans on this issue so that a seamless transition can take place in February 2009.
As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, I believe that now is the time for Congress to come together to update our obsolete telecommunications laws.
Why now? Because the telecom marketplace has evolved dramatically since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 became law. To put the need for updating the law into perspective, the 1996 act hardly even mentioned the word “Internet.” We need laws that will keep pace with the ever-evolving tech sector. New technologies like phone calls over the Internet were barely in the conception stages a few years ago,
Did you know that today’s cars get an average of 28 miles per gallon, while in 1974 they averaged only 13?
That’s right — fuel economy has more than doubled in the past generation. Yet some say a federal mandate is necessary to increase fuel economy. But the facts, as they often do, tell a different story.
Who would’ve known America’s favorite sports ritual would set the stage for where we are today in the fight to clean up the public airwaves. It has been just 10 weeks since Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and I introduced H.R. 3717, the “Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act,” to significantly strengthen the Federal Communications Commission’s hand in its enforcement of broadcast decency laws. To say the very least, a lot has happened in those 10 weeks, and now the nation’s eyes are upon us.
The 391-22 vote in support of our legislation ought to send a signal to everyone that we mean business in cleaning up the public airwaves. I challenge the few detractors to read the transcripts of those who have already been fined by the FCC for airing indecent material. It’s more than a word or two — it’s often page after page of hardcore triple-X smut that never should have been on the public airwaves to begin with. It’s not political correctness that is being challenged or the First Amendment, which every one of the 391 who voted for this bill support.
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