Monday, June 1, 2009

Democrats Return to Washington Ready to Force Workers, Families, Small Businesses to Pay a National Energy Tax

Congress is returning to Washington after its Memorial Day recess, and among the top issues slated for House action in the coming weeks is the Democrats’ massive national energy tax to be paid by anyone who drives a car, buys a product made in America, or has the audacity to flip on a light switch. The tax could cost American families up to $3,100 per year and will send countless American jobs overseas to China and India at a time when U.S. workers can afford it least. With the Obama Administration taking responsibility for the future of General Motors today, how can Washington Democrats seriously claim they are looking out for the best interests of American workers at the same time that they’re advocating a significant new tax that will kill their jobs?

Republicans spent the Memorial Day recess sounding the alarm on the national energy tax – called “cap and trade” by the legislation’s supporters – in venues across the country, capped off with Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) delivering the weekly GOP address on Saturday to expose the Democrats’ scheme and highlight better solutions proposed by Republicans:

“The national energy tax imposed by Speaker Pelosi’s climate change bill would double electric bills here in Indiana, working a severe hardship on low-income families, but that’s only where the damage starts. In a state where we like to make things, like steel and autos and RVs, it would cost us countless jobs, many of them heading off-shore to China and India. Our farmers and livestock producers would see their costs skyrocket. And our coal miners would be looking for new work, while we leave affordable, homegrown energy idle in the ground.”

In summits held in Pittsburgh, PA, Indianapolis, IN, and San Luis Obispo, CA last week, the House GOP’s American Energy Solutions Group – led by Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) – highlighted the devastating impact a national energy tax would have on jobs and local economies. An editorial in this morning’s Wheeling (WV) Intelligencer highlights one of the consequences the Democrats’ national energy tax could have on that community: the downfall of both the coal and steel industries and the families who depend on them:

“Measures such as the ‘cap and trade’ proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions have been covered widely by the press, including this newspaper. Much of the focus has been on coal-fired power plants. That is appropriate because of the drastic effect ‘cap and trade’ would have on the coal industry and customers of coal-fired power plants.”

“Not much has been said about the effect ‘cap and trade’ would have on other industries, however. Clearly, certain facilities used in the steel industry could be affected dramatically if the legislation is enacted…”

“The domestic steel industry has been hurt badly by a combination of government failure to protect it from unfair foreign competition, and enforcement of air pollution rules. We hope members of Congress do not allow ‘cap and trade’ to become one of the final nails in the coffin of the steel industry. We urge Wilson and other lawmakers representing this area to refuse to allow that to happen.”

At a time when our nation is struggling to save American jobs, is a national energy tax really the kind of policy that Americans are expecting out of the leaders in Washington? Shouldn’t they expect Democrats and Republicans alike to work on an “all of the above” plan that creates jobs, lowers energy prices, and cleans up the environment at the same time? That’s what Rep. Pence’s American Energy Solutions Group supports – and that’s what it has been advocating around the nation and in the halls of Congress. Cornerstones of the House Republicans’ “all of the above” strategy are:

Increasing environmentally-safe energy production on remote lands and far off our shores;
Promoting the use of alternative fuels that will reduce carbon emissions, such as nuclear, clean-coal, and renewable energy technologies; and
Encouraging increased efficiencies and cutting edge technologies to maximize America’s energy potential.

As Congress begins a four-week sprint toward the Independence Day recess, will Democrats stubbornly barrel ahead with their plan to saddle American workers, families, and small businesses with a national energy tax? Or will they work with Republicans to create jobs, protect the environment, and lower energy prices – all without raising taxes?

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