Giving Parents, Students, and School Officials a Voice in the American Energy Debate

John Boehner
|
Posted: Aug 15, 2008 7:50 AM
Giving Parents, Students, and School Officials a Voice in the American Energy Debate

All summer long, Americans have been hit hard – and continually – by high gas prices. Vacation plans have been altered. Family visits have been shortened or cancelled. And commutes to and from work are more costly than ever. While Americans are forced to deal with this reality each and every day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues adjourned Congress and left Washington on August 1st for a five-week break, essentially telling families and small businesses to fend for themselves in the midst of this energy crisis.

House Republicans have refused to go along with the Democrats’ plans. Instead, we have launched a nationwide gas prices revolt – both on the House floor itself and in communities across the country – to hold the Democratic leaders of this Congress accountable for their total inaction on this vital issue. Specifically, we are demanding that Speaker Pelosi schedule a vote on the American Energy Act (H.R. 6566), our “all of the above” plan to increase production of American energy, promote more conservation and efficiency, and encourage the use of more alternative and renewable fuels. We intend to promote our strategy for lower gas prices on the House floor and in our congressional districts every single day until the Speaker finally gives us – and the American people – the vote we expect and deserve.

One way in which we are highlighting our “all of the above” plan is by asking Americans how the gas price crisis is impacting them. While America’s families, small businesses, and seniors are feeling the pain at the pump, they certainly are not alone. In fact, in just a couple of weeks, when America’s students head back to school, we will begin to see the energy crunch hit home in a new way. From elementary and secondary schools to community colleges and universities, schools at every level will be grappling with high prices for fuel. And House Republicans want to learn how.

That’s why we have launched a unique web-based initiative focused on how high energy prices will impact the coming school year. Found at the House Education & Labor Committee’s GOP website, this survey will gather input from school officials, teachers, and families to determine the extent of the energy crisis in our schools – input that we will provide to both parties this fall to encourage decisive action by Congress to increase production of American energy to lower fuel costs.

Since Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, the energy crunch has been swift and severe. Gas prices have risen from an average of $2.33 per gallon in the first days of the Democratic Majority to $3.78 per gallon today, while diesel prices – particularly important for school transportation purposes – have risen from $2.44 per gallon to $4.47 per gallon today. No matter how you slice it, the surge in energy costs has been dramatic, and with fall and winter right around the corner, the pain will not just be felt at the pump, but in heating bills as well.

USA Today recently reported that schools already are bracing for energy troubles this fall and beyond, noting, “Fuel and energy costs are rising so quickly for the USA’s public school districts that nearly one in seven is considering cutting back to four-day weeks this fall. One in four is considering limits on athletics and other extracurricular activities, and nearly one in three is eliminating teaching jobs.”

These are some of the real-world consequences of the Democratic Congress’ callous indifference to the American people’s plight at the pump. Over the past several weeks, during our House floor “revolt” and in our home towns, we have heard similar stories – and they have served to embolden Republicans in our fight against the Drill-Nothing Democrats.

Whether you are a parent, a student, a school official, or a taxpayer, the House Republicans’ energy survey for schools gives you a chance to tell Congress – and specifically Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership – how the energy crunch is affecting you. Please take a moment to visit the website and complete the short, online survey. Your input will give our efforts to increase American energy production and reduce gas prices even more momentum as Congress officially returns to Washington next month.