Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Full Committee Hearing on “Moving America Forward Toward A Clean Energy Economy and Reducing Global Warming Pollution: Legislative Tools.”
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Despite a 76-seat majority in the House, Speaker Pelosi passed her cap-and-trade energy tax bill on June 26 by just one vote over the majority required, 219-212. Against this backdrop, the Senate will begin the process of considering yet another cap-and-trade bill. I would note that the Senate has voted on cap-and-trade three times: in 2003, in 2005, and in 2008. In each and every instance, we defeated it. Now, Madame Chairman, here we go again.
As I understand it, you intend to hold a series of hearings with the hope of marking up a bill before the August recess. Madame Chairman, let me say I commend you for holding hearings. The minority jointly issued a letter today outlining our requests for a series of legislative hearings that are based upon actual legislation.
In the letter, the Republican members of this committee express concern about the process involved in considering the most complex piece of legislation ever before this committee.
Madame Chairman, as I look at the calendar, it appears that we will consider a massive bill in a very narrow window of time. So the question arises: when will we see the bill that you intend to mark-up? I hope we don’t repeat the process in the House, when the majority released a 300 page manager’s amendment at 3 a.m., the morning of the vote.
The American people and their elected representatives deserve an open, transparent, and thorough review of any legislation that, as the Washington Post described it, “will reshape America’s economy in dozens of ways that many don’t realize.”
You can be sure of this: once the American public realizes what this legislation will do to their wallets, they will resoundingly reject it. Perhaps that explains why we are rushing cap-and-trade through the Senate.
The public is already on record rejecting energy taxes. Consider a new poll by Rasmussen, which found on July 1 that 56% of Americans are not willing to pay ANYTHING to fight global warming. This includes higher utility costs, which under cap-and-trade, as President Obama said, would “necessarily skyrocket”.
The bottom line is this: However you spin this debate, or whatever schemes you concoct to hide the higher costs consumers will pay, the public will find out. And when they do, they will reject those schemes and reject the spin, and they will look instead for solutions that create jobs, strengthen energy security, and increase our global competitiveness.
When it comes to legislative tools, there is a better way. Whether it is reducing dependence on foreign oil or increasing access to clean, affordable and reliable sources of energy, Republicans have answers.
We have been accused us of being the party of ‘no’ for too long. Well, it’s true that we say no to higher energy taxes, no to subsidizing the East and West coasts at the expense of the heartland, no to more bureaucracy and red tape, and no to sending our manufacturing jobs to China and India.
We say ‘yes’ to an all-of-the-above domestic energy policy, which includes nuclear, clean coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and geothermal. We say ‘yes’ to greater access to all sources of clean and reliable energy right here at home.
Finally, I welcome our witnesses before us today, including members of the Administration and the governor of the great state of Mississippi. I look forward to questioning the panel and in particular I look forward to hearing from Administrator Jackson regarding my letter sent last week on the Agency’s commitment to transparency.