Inhofe Kicks Off Series of Floor Speeches Exposing Waxman-Markey Climate Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today delivered a floor speech on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. Today’s speech is the first in a series of speeches designed to expose the myriad of mandates, bureaucracies, and taxes hidden within this massive 1400 page bill. In this first installment, Inhofe focused on the central inconsistency of the bill: on the one hand, it is hailed an engine of job creation; on the other, the bill provides government payments to workers who lose their jobs because of the bill’s taxes and mandates. Moreover, Inhofe noted that Waxman-Markey results in a net loss of jobs for the American economy.
“In the coming weeks, I intend to go through every single page of this climate bill, revealing the massive amount of spending, the labyrinth of new regulations, and expansion of government agencies and programs,” Senator Inhofe said on the Senate Floor today. “I think the time is right to peel back the green veil and expose this 1,400-page monument to big government. There’s a lot in there, and at times the bill gets very complicated. But over the next several weeks, I plan to focus on some of the bill’s most damaging provisions, as well as those that reinforce the criticisms I’ve been making. Before the United States Senate moves to vote on the largest tax increase in history, the American public deserves to know exactly what is in this bill.”
Below is Senator Inhofe’s Full Speech As Prepared for Delivery:
Sen. James Inhofe, July 27, 2009
It’s safe to say that at 3:09 am on June 26th, most of America was asleep. While they slept, Democratic leaders in the House were creating a nightmare: in the early morning hours, Speaker Pelosi and her deputies were pushing the largest tax increase in American history.
In the dead of night, with no one watching, they engaged in full-scale arm twisting, backroom dealing, and outright pork-barreling to garner support for a massive bill, which few even read or understood.
When America awoke, they found Democrats talking about “green jobs” and the “new clean energy economy.” They spoke of free-markets and innovation and energy independence. All of it sounded so appealing, yet none of it was true.
That’s because Waxman-Markey is full of regulations, mandates, bureaucracy, and big government programs. Waxman-Markey is, to quote John Dingell, “a tax, and a great big one,” on small businesses, families, and consumers.
I don’t blame the Democrats for selling cap-and-trade as something it’s not. This is a political imperative for them, because the American people now know what cap-and-trade is, and they don’t like it. According to independent political analysis Charlie Cook, “Many Democrats getting back to Washington from the Independence Day recess reported getting an earful from their constituents over the ‘energy tax hike’…” Further, Cook noted, “The perception is that this is a huge tax increase at a time when people can ill afford one. Hence, Democrats, whether they supported the bill or not, are getting battered, increasing their blood pressure.”
It’s safe to say that the House members who voted ‘yes’ for this bill are regretting their vote.
So why are politicians who voted for cap-and-trade getting such an earful? For one, many Americans are struggling financially, and many Americans are out of work. So when they hear about Nancy Pelosi’s plan to raise their electricity, food, and gasoline bills, they rightly get upset.
As of now, the American people don’t want to pay anything to address climate change for 3 reasons: the science is flawed, we are in a cooling period and it would constitute the largest tax increase in history.
But don’t take my word for it: poll after poll confirms this. Consider a the most recent national poll on behalf of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, in which 58 percent of Americans said they won’t pay any more than they currently pay in their electricity bills to address climate change.
Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that Democrats are calling Waxman-Markey, among other things, a “jobs bill.” In doing this, the Democrats betray a certain amount of desperation in their attempt to pass cap-and-trade. They see a rising tide of opposition when they go back to their districts—and they also see that the math in the Senate doesn’t add up. But supporters of this bill won’t give up, and, unfortunately for them, neither will we.
I think the time is right, then, to peel back the green veil and expose this 1,400-page monument to big government. There’s a lot in there, and at times the bill gets very complicated. But over the next several weeks, I plan to focus on some of the bill’s most damaging provisions, as well as those that reinforce the criticisms I’ve been making.
On that note, let’s begin with the claim that Waxman-Markey will be an engine of job creation. First, there’s no evidence that this will create an overall net gain of new jobs. Putting stress on “net gain” is important here. Backers routinely claim the bill will create “green” jobs in the renewable energy. That’s true—there will be greater demand for solar panels and windmills. But that’s only one side of the equation.
The fact is that Waxman-Markey will destroy millions of manufacturing jobs, meaning that America will experience a net job loss. Consider a recent analysis of Waxman-Markey by CRA International, commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce. The analysis found that, “the number of these new ‘green jobs’ will be lower than the number of the other jobs that [Waxman-Markey] would destroy elsewhere in the economy.”
In total, Waxman-Markey would cause a net reduction of 2.3 million to 2.7 million jobs. In other words, on the one hand, we’ll create some green jobs, but on the other, we’ll destroy many more jobs. Take Spain as an example. According to a study from King Juan University in Madrid, every job in renewable energies created in Spain in the year 2000 has cost 571,138 Euros and has been the cause of the loss of 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy. Now the Democrats want to transfer that same logic to the United States. They want to use expanded government, bureaucracy and taxes to create jobs, while if the private sector could just go to work, 2.2 jobs could be created for every 1 job that is created by the government. In this economy, those numbers add up.
Now let’s take a closer look at the legislation. I think most Americans would find it curious that a bill that supposedly creates jobs contains provisions to help people who would lose their jobs because of the legislation. But here they are. Let me read the provisions to you.
Title IV, Section B, Part 2, is called “Climate Change Worker Adjustment Assistance.” Just beneath that is Sec. 425, called “Petitions, Eligibility Requirements, And Determinations.” This provision allows workers to file for a “certification of eligibility” as a group with the Department of Labor. These workers can apply for “adjustment assistance,” subsequent to a hearing to determine if they are eligible.
What does this mean? The authors of Waxman-Markey, through this provision, implicitly acknowledge that Waxman-Markey will destroy jobs. The “adjustment” mentioned here is just a euphemism for the pink slip workers get when Waxman-Markey goes into effect. And then, through a laborious process, they can petition the federal government for taxpayer handouts.
Now let’s turn to Sec. 426, called “Program Benefits.” This provision allows for payment of a “climate change adjustment allowance” for an “adversely worker.” The obvious question here is: “adversely affected” by what? Well, by the bill, of course. This provision authorizes payment to these workers for a week of unemployment that “shall equal 70% of the average weekly wage of that worker for a period of not longer than 156 weeks,” or 3 years. Again, this payment would be made because of the provisions of Waxman Markey. Let’s read on. The bill provides job training benefits, including “individual career counseling” and “prevocational services,” defined as “development of learning skills, communications skills, interviewing skills, punctuality, personal maintenance skills, and professional conduct to prepare individuals for employment or training.” But that’s not all: workers may be eligible in certain circumstances for a one-time job search allowance up to $1,500, and for relocation assistance up to $1,500.
What’s going on here? Again, the authors of Waxman-Markey created an elaborate bureaucratic, taxpayer-funded social services program for people who lose their jobs because of Waxman-Markey.
But isn’t Waxman-Markey a jobs bill? Why would any of these big government programs be necessary if the bill is supposed to create jobs? The answer is simple: buried at the end of nearly 1,400 pages of taxes and mandates, we see the stark reality of this bill: it sends pink slips to workers and then promises the unemployed that they will get assistance from the government.
So workers beware: Waxman-Markey is coming for you, and if you get caught, you’ll be unemployed and standing in line hoping that the federal government keeps you whole.
I think most Americans would agree that this “jobs” bill is nothing of the sort. You simply can’t create a rational, workable, commonsensical national energy policy by putting people out of work. It's the Democrats who will not allow us to produce our own oil and gas. We could be completely free from our dependency on the middle east for oil and gas.
The alternative Republican plan goes in a different direction. We support opening access to domestic energy resources, removing barriers to innovative clean energy technologies, and allowing all forms of energy to power this great machine called America. And we firmly reject an energy policy based on taxes, mandates, and bureaucracy.
As the public becomes more aware of Waxman-Markey, they grow more opposed to it and seek accountability from their representatives who supported it. I hope to play a role in providing the public with the information they need to understand what’s at stake in the debate over this bill.
As I noted, this is the first in a series of speeches that will expose the inner workings of the Waxman-Markey. I look forward to shining a bright light on this bill and how it came together as America slept.