ach year I give thousands of constituents a Capitol tour. We are all proud of our nation's capital. In the spring, when many come, its magnificent cherry blossoms bloom, and its monuments always inspire.
Yet the federal government that dominates the city is far less impressive. While in Congress, I have seen the good, the bad and too often, the really ugly side of many of the dozens of government agencies in Washington.
What does this have to do with today's pressing issues? The Democrats in Congress, with President Obama's backing, are pressing hard to give Congress and federal bureaucracies a whole lot more power with their very flawed energy bill, passed by the House of Representatives on Friday. Bad idea.
The crux of the Democrat's bill is "cap and trade". Businesses and utilities bid on (or are granted) the right to emit carbon dioxide. In turn, they may sell unused credits, supposedly creating incentives for conservation and the development of renewable energies. Over time, the government shrinks the cap, reducing the amount of carbon emissions. Sounds good? Here are some of its many problems:
This Washington remaking of energy markets will raise a single household's energy bill between 79 and 129 percent. Do the math: your energy bill of $160 a month could soar to nearly $400. Candidate Obama himself said, "electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket." Family energy costs will rise on average by $3,000 a year. Cap and trade will increase the prices of gas, food, consumer products and nearly every item you buy. Republicans in committee offered an amendment to this bill to suspend the program if gas hit $5 gallon; the Democrats rejected it.
U.S. manufacturing plants will relocate to countries with no such taxes, eliminating American jobs. Various studies suggest anywhere from 1.8 million to 7 million U.S. jobs could be lost. Indiana's governor writes, "'Closed: Gone to China' signs would cover Indiana's stores and factories." As if American manufacturing doesn't have enough challenges. And for what...
Experts have calculated that the bill would at best reduce global temperatures by 1/10th of one degree, Fahrenheit.
Just as big a problem as what's in the bill is what's left out. Provisions for more nuclear energy, which emits virtually no carbon emissions, are no where to be found. Today, about 20 percent of our energy is nuclear generated. Yet we haven't built a single nuclear power plant since the 1970s. This energy bill does nothing to encourage nuclear power plant construction, a sure job creator. Ironically, the Obama Administration is promoting nuclear energy use overseas. Democratic opposition to do the same at home is deeply ingrained ideology, even though the Department of Energy reports that the best way for utilities to reduce carbon emissions is to increase their nuclear energy generation.