Having diagnosed America’s worsening energy situation as a short-term political problem for their party rather than a long-term economic concern impacting the health and security of our nation, Democratic leaders this week are expected to bring forth an energy bill that’s long on political posturing, but short on meaningful solutions.
One problem: With winter fast approaching, the millions of Americans who struggled this summer with $4 gas are about to encounter an electric bill that may rival or even surpass what they pay each month on their mortgage. Some have already been told to expect a 30 percent rate hike for the coming year.
Lost in the discussion over the speed and abandon with which Democrats’ have shifted their rhetorical position on developing our nation’s resources, one element of the bill we’re likely to see this week has not been explored as fully. Specifically, it’s the blanket, unfunded mandate taking square aim at the way we get our electricity – a provision that would drive up prices by forcing utilities to generate more electricity through solar and wind, and insist that millions of American families cover the cost of the transition.
But thanks in large part to the zeal with which this Congress has locked away America’s resources, prices for two of our nation’s predominant sources of electricity -- coal and natural gas -- are at historically high levels. That’s why, even without a new mandate, the nation's largest publicly-owned utility informed its customers last month that rates will jump 20 percent beginning in October. Imagine how high they’ll get if we have to start relying on the whims of the weather to determine whether we’ll get electricity that day.
Still, the part of the Democrats’ energy outline that’s been getting all the attention is a section that, at first blush, appears to be a legitimate, supply-oriented energy component. Indeed, in backing away from their previous statements that producing more energy here at home has no ability to bring down the price we pay for it, Democrats took great care to make it look as if they were willing to match word with deed, pairing bold public pronouncement with sound public policy.
As Whip, Congressman Roy Blunt is the second highest Republican in the House of Representatives and is responsible for corralling the votes necessary to advance the Republican agenda.