Voinovich Presses Boxer on Need for Economic Analysis Before Committee Mark Up of Kerry-Boxer
October 29, 2009
Posted by: David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov
Transcript of Voinovich-Boxer Exchange: EPW legislative hearing on Kerry-Boxer Cap-and-Trade Bill, October 29, 2009:
Voinovich: Thank you Madam Chairman. Serious problems deserve serious solutions. This bill lacks analytical support and open dialogue. Even much less significant or costly bills are subject to EIA and EPA analysis well in advance of the final committee actions. Lesser bills are subject to legislative hearings, not so here. Lesser bills are designed to meet somewhat realistic assumptions about the real state of technology, not so here. I'd like to put into the record an editorial from the Post referencing Senator Cardin, it's called the ‘Public Fisker - Washington can help build plug in-hybrid, but who will buy them?' At the end of the article it says such are the risks of the Obama Administration policy which seems to be ‘fertilize the fields of green technology and hope at the end at least some of it sells.'
This may be the single most significant piece of legislation that's come before the committee, touching every sector of the economy and having immense energy, economic, environmental, and national security consequences. At this point, we do not fully understand how this legislation will impact the price supply and reliability of electricity, gasoline, and other commodities which millions of Americans depend on every day. Once more, we don't know if the bill will have an appreciable impact on climate change. On Tuesday, Administrator Jackson admitted that they have not done a complete analysis of this bill. We are talking about a bill that's going to go to 2050. You'd think that we'd wait for that data.
Madame Chairman, I have a Washington Post article, 'Economics of climate change at the forefront.' I'll submit that, which talks about the argument over estimates. The best information that we have right now is an analysis by the American Council for Capital Formation, which says this bill is an economic disaster. The fact of the matter is, is if you look at this bill, for example, states like Ohio are going to get 70% of our allowances taken care of, and your state of California is going to get 140%. That means a shifting of 385 million dollars from some states to other states around the country. And I've got a poster here, a chart. If you see the votes in the House, folks, these are the people who voted against the bill in the House. Here are the states of the people who voted for it in the House. And you can see the regional differences in the United States. Here we are, we're in the Midwest, the manufacturing sector of this country, and we've got problems with it. But those over here, they think it's okay, California is going to make out like a bandit with this legislation. So Madam Chairman, I think it's time...
Voinovich: I'm going to finish up.
Boxer: You can ask unanimous consent to get another minute if you want.
Voinovich: I think that we need a sense of bipartisanship in this committee, and I don't think we have it. You complained the other day that Senator Warner was no longer on this committee.
Boxer: I did.
Voinovich: I ask, does your definition of bipartisanship mean someone that agrees with you? I mean, this is a big bill. We need to really get at it. I'm willing to work with the people on the other side of the aisle. But if you jam this thing through here, it's not going to be good and America is going to be very, very upset about it, and I'll tell you one thing, the people in Ohio will be very upset about it.
Boxer: I'll take my two minutes now. If you had asked for unanimous consent I would have been happy to grant it. Now here's my definition of bipartisanship. Working together like we do on the Highway bill, like we do on the Water bills, we know how to work together. Senator Inhofe and I are working together right now, along with other colleagues. We would have had an extension on the highway bill, Senator Voinovich, you were the only one on this committee to object to it. Now, here's the situation. I think the speech you just made is flat wrong and I want to explain why. I have the EPA analysis and they say there are barely any regional differences whatsoever.
Voinovich: It's not a complete analysis, and the head of the Department said it was not a complete analysis.
Boxer: I did not interrupt you Senator.
Voinovich: Well, you're editorializing on my comments as you do everybody else's comments here.
Boxer: Senator, I'm taking my time because I didn't take my two minutes in the beginning. I'm taking it now.
Voinovich: Thank you.
Boxer: Thank you very much. I will ask unanimous consent to place into the record the EPA analysis which says there are barely any regional differences, as well as put into the record the amount of extra cost for consumers which we are trying to offset. Now, I hear what you're saying, all of you, on the other side. I have done everything possible to get some of you on the other side to work with us. I praised the meetings I had with Senator Voinovich in my opening statement. He said he wanted to meet, and we met. We have notes from that. He asked us for an analysis. We made it just for him. So to say we that haven't reached out is ridiculous. Now, we are having unprecedented number of legislative hearings. All of these witnesses, we've asked them to read the bill in its entirety. We have asked every witness to do so, and they are prepared to speak about the bill either for or against the bill. And we have an analysis that I would say is one of the most thorough ever done, and this is the reason why. Five weeks to do the Markey bill. Two weeks to do the tweeks that we did. Most of our bill is very similar to theirs. So it's a seven week process. And as far as the CBO, we have been working hand and glove with them to make sure that our bill is in fact deficit neutral and maybe even has a surplus. It is the tradition of this committee that the CBO score is done after the mark, before the bill is on the floor. That is what this committee did under republican leadership and democratic leadership. And that's what we will do. I hope we don't see a boycott of a markup of a landmark bill. That would be tragic in my mind. We are ready to look at your amendments, we are ready to work with you on your amendments, we are ready to accept them if we feel they are good, and have votes on them, and you know, who knows how the votes will turn out. But all of this aggressive kind of argument, I just think is misplaced. If you go back, and I have, to the history of this committee under republican leadership and democratic leadership, we are doing a tremendously thorough job, and I am very proud of the work that has come out of this committee. And all the charges I hear from the other side just don't hold up in the light of day, there is just fear-mongering going on, and the fact is, we are going to look at a bright new future if we move forward. So let's just continue and we'll go now to Senator...
Inhofe: Let me respond if I could, I'll take my second minute that I didn't use.
Boxer: You have a minute left over, that's right.
Inhofe: Thank you very much Madame Chairman. Let me just say this, in terms of the analysis and the time, let's be realistic about it. When we had the Clear Skies legislation, we started our first hearing in April of ‘03. We had them in May, June, July, all the way through the rest of that year into February of '05. Finally, we ended up having a mark-up on March of '05. We had two years of analysis, we had 10,000 pages of analysis, and all of a sudden it's outrageous for us to ask for even two months of the same thing. So I think we need to look back at what we did when we were a majority, very similar type of legislation, Clear Skies, and it took two years before we could even have a mark up.