Unfortunately, we are facing extraordinary competition from nations around the globe. Developing countries such as China, India and Russia have discovered that energy is the key to growth and quality of life. Whether it is oil, natural gas, nuclear or hydro-electric power, these nations are acting aggressively to secure the energy they need to continue their economic growth. And America is being challenged like no other time in our history as a result.
Common sense would dictate that we boost supplies of all forms of energy right here at home to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, create American jobs, and grow our economy. But the majority’s energy legislation fails to produce any new energy for consumers. That means no new American-produced oil, natural gas, or coal; no new nuclear or hydro-electric power; and no new gasoline refineries or power plants.
In fact, the only abundance produced in the majority’s plan are punitive tax policies – wrapped in regulatory red tape – that will restrict access to America’s vast energy resources and discourage every energy investment that does not come in the form of a government grant. In economic terms, that’s called price gouging and market manipulation, and American families will suffer as a result.
In 2006, then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made this election year statement: “Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices.” Two years later, gasoline prices have skyrocketed under Democratic control, increasing from a nationwide average of $2.33 per gallon on the day Rep. Pelosi became Speaker to $3.13 per gallon now.
What my Democratic friends have proposed is not a “new direction” for America’s energy future; it’s the same failed approach that caused long gas lines and rationing in the 1970s. Americans know that Congress must adopt a balanced and achievable policy to put the nation on a path toward energy independence – one that rids them of the periodic price spikes that break their budgets and force them to choose between taking the family to the movies over the weekend and paying the gas bill.
That’s not a choice the American people should have to make, and with the right policies in place in Washington, they wouldn’t have to ever again. Republicans believe a balanced energy plan should boost supplies of American-made energy in all its forms. With 21st century technologies and the strictest standards in the world, we can and must produce more of our own energy right here at home and protect our environment at the same time. We can accomplish both of these important goals, but not by supporting reckless, Big Government tax hikes that jeopardize our energy future and endanger our economy. And not by doing favors for Hugo Chavez.