'Now We See Why GOP Wanted to Hide Energy Bill -- It Puts the Special
Interests before the Public Interest'
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this afternoon
on the floor of the House of Representatives in strong opposition
to the Republican Energy Bill, which passed the House by a vote
of 246 to 180. Below are her remarks:
today, I came to the floor and told the story about the disgraceful
Medicare bill that we will be reviewing later this week, in which
House Democrats were shut out in favor of a back-room deal. Sadly,
this energy bill is more of the same.
House Democrats were excluded from deliberations on this bill, they
were not allowed to participate in this conference. The Vice President
of the United States and the Halliburton crowd had a seat at the
met behind closed doors to write this bill, shutting out House Democrats
and the 130 million Americans we represent, while the special interests
had special access. And its just not about the quantity, the
number of Americans shut out. It also is about the diversity and
the quality of the people left out.
House Democrats do not have a seat at the table, a seat is excluded
to the members of our Congressional Black Caucus, our Congressional
Hispanic Caucus, our Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus, our large
Womens Caucus, the list of the diversity that we have in our
thinking goes on and on.
of the thinking of a caucus that diverse should not be lost in any
legislation that we put forth. Whether you like it or not, that
diversity represents the future, my Republican colleagues. And you
shut out the future from the table. That is why you have a bill
that looks back. You have a bill that could have been written in
the 1950s. Its a missed opportunity.
energy bill is almost 1,200 pages long, but Democrats were not allowed
to see the text until Saturday. And here we are, three days later,
voting on the most comprehensive overhaul of energy policy since
we can see the bill, we know why Republicans wanted to hide it.
It is loaded to the brim with special interest giveaways. It puts
the special interests before the public interest.
there are a few table scraps thrown toward clean energy resources
and technologies, but for the most part, the bill will allow big
energy companies to feast on a buffet of new tax breaks. It will
cost Americans more than $142 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
is this bill? So bad that the Cato Institute, not known as a Democratic
institution, so bad that the Cato Institute joined the Sierra Club
in saying in a rare moment of agreement, this bill is three
parts corporate welfare and one part cynical politics.
this bill does not provide the sound energy policy we need. The
American people deserve an energy policy that is worthy of the 21st
century, not one mired in the policies of the past. But this bill
looks backward, not forward.
bill will not reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It will make
it harder to increase fuel efficiency standards. It does not adequately
invest in new technologies and promote energy efficiency. It will
not protect average Americans from price-gouging and fraud. And
it throws environmental concerns overboard.
look at what this bill does to the environment:
- It waives
the Clean Water Act for construction at oil and gas facilities.
- It waives
the Clean Air Act in communities that are blanketed with smog,
hurting millions of children.
- It waives
the Safe Drinking Water Act to allow the injection of diesel fuel
into the water table.
it allows the gasoline additive MTBE to remain in use for years
to come, even though it pollutes drinking water and is a suspected
carcinogen. The bill even makes sure that the MTBE industry will
not have to pay to clean up water it has contaminated. It has held
them harmless for the damage that they do. That burden will fall
on the people already suffering its effects.
it is no accident that we are voting on this energy bill in the
final days before we adjourn. Republicans did really not want the
American people nor the Members of Congress to see what was in this
bill. When Americans learn what is in this bill, they will be offended
Congress had the opportunity to craft an energy policy that would
boost the economy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, clean up
the environment, and protect public health. But instead we have
before us an energy policy that looks to the past, not the future,
and gives away huge, unnecessary tax breaks to the Republicans
special interest friends. A vote no on this bill is a vote in the
public interest. A vote yes is a vote for the special interest.
my colleagues to support the public interest and vote 'no.'"