We’re Getting Solutions From Democrats in Congress

Yesterday, Icarus asked this question:

“What, exactly, are we getting from Democrats, the MAJORITY party in Congress?”

The answer to that question is Democrats are constantly and consistently introducing and passing legislation that addresses the major issues of American society today including reducing our country’s reliance on foreign oils, making our country more energy independent, and investing more into renewable energy resources.

Since the Democratic Party became the majority party in Congress, nine bills have passed the United States House of Representatives dealing with lowering gas prices and promoting energy independence. Of those nine bills, four have become law while the other five have been held hostage by Republican opposition in the Senate and veto threats from the White House [Source: “Rising Gas & Energy Prices,” Speaker.gov].

Yesterday, four of Georgia’s Republican members of Congress, led by Lynn Westmoreland, signed a pledge that reads, “I will vote to increase U.S. oil production to lower gas prices for Americans.” In response, a better pledge was offered:

“I will vote to enact laws that reduces America’s reliance on foreign oil, invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and cracks down on gas price gouging and oil price fixing.”

As of 10AM this morning, none of Georgia’s GOP congressional delegation have signed the pledge, so one must examine their votes to see if they support putting Georgia and the rest of the country on a path towards energy independence.

On the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act (HR 6049), all seven Georgia Republicans opposed. On the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act (HR 5351), again all seven Georgia Republicans opposed. On the Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008 (HR 6074), five Georgia Republicans opposed. On the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR 6), which was signed into law by President Bush, six Georgia Republicans opposed. On the America COMPETES Act with Energy Research & Development of Clean Energy Technologies (HR 2272), also signed into law by President Bush, five Georgia Republicans opposed. On the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act (HR 1252), every Georgia Republican in Congress at the time was against. And finally, on the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels “NOPEC” Act (HR 2264), every Georgia Republican opposed [Source: House Roll Call #344; #84; #332; #1177; #802; #404; #398].

The record speaks for itself.

On each piece of legislation that would put Georgia and the rest of the country on the path towards renewable energy, energy independence and lower gas prices, most, if not all, Republicans from the Peach State opposed and voted against the bills.

For Republicans like John Linder and Lynn Westmoreland, their answer to our nation’s energy problems is to drill, drill, and drill some more. In comparison, the Democrats have offered bill after bill that A.) reduces America’s reliance on foreign oil; B.) invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency; and C.) cracks down on gas price gouging and oil price fixing.

In other words, we’re getting solutions from the Democratic Party.

36 comments

  1. Rogue109 says:

    In other words, we’re getting solutions from the Democratic Party.

    Except none of them deal with drilling, right?

  2. sndeak says:

    Of the 45.5 Million Acres of Federal Onshore Lands Leased to Oil and Gas Companies, 31 Million Acres Are Not Producing. There are 45.5 million acres of federal onshore lands currently leased by the oil and gas industry—but over 31 million acres are not producing. Likewise, there are 33 million acres of the federal OCS lands that are under lease but are not producing. [Department of Interior]

    Just 21 Percent of OCS Leases Are in Production, Just 19 Percent of OCS Acres Under Lease Are Producing. There are 7,740 active leases in the outer continental shelf and only 1,655 are in production. There are over 41,000,000 acres in the outer continental shelf have been leased for oil drilling, yet only 8,123,000 acres are in production. [Department of Interior]

    Now….why do need ANWR when so many permits have not been tapped?

  3. Icarus says:

    “and cracks down on gas price gouging and oil price fixing.”

    You guys have had what, 8, maybe 10, investigations into price gouging? Hauling CEO’s of oil companies makes for a great photo op/sound bite combo, but after numerous “investigations”, you’ve found no evidence. Either your democrat investigators or incompetent, or it’s not happening. (I’ll bet both).

    Once again, you offer plattitudes about efficiency and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, while gas prices have nearly doubled since you guys took Congress.

    Keep talking the talk. McCain might have put Florida into play with his support of expanded drilling, but I’ll bet Michigan and other states with idle truck plants just got a little more red.

  4. Rogue109 says:

    Sndeak:

    The reason for unused leases is (shocker) that there is no oil there, or it’s in the process of exploration, or it’s too expensive to obtain. Go check your DOI “facts” and see if they are maintaining that there (1) is still oil in every place they issue a lease and (2) that it can be obtained for an amount that still affords the oil companies 8% profit.

    There are more than 8,500 active leases on the Outer Continental Shelf that cover over 44 million acres, according to Richard Ranger, a senior policy advisor for the American Petroleum Institute (API). Of those, over 6,300 leases on nearly 34 million acres have no production. (That means there is no oil there or its too expensive to obtain.)

    Further, according to Ranger, the process of pulling crude oil out of the ground is long and complicated and won’t necessarily show immediate results. Those steps consume several years from the point of leasing to a point of decision.

    Thus, we should look into a space the size of the island of Manhattan in Alaska for drilling, off the coasts and in Montana/Wyoming where additional massive reserve are held.

  5. SamTeasley says:

    my favorite is how this congress has passed a law banning, yes banning, the incandescent light bulb by 2014.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59298

    I personally use the CFL bulbs for 90% of the lighting in my house – I like the brightness and the reduced energy costs. However, this is an outrageous overreach from our congress to micromanage our lives. This will also be interesting to see what happens when it changes supply and demand on the cfl bulbs. Eliminate the incandescent bulb, its primary competition – brilliant idea!

  6. Rogue109 says:

    However, this is an outrageous overreach from our congress to micromanage our lives.

    No diggity, no doubt! But I throw Bush in with Congress on this issue…absolutely pathetic.

  7. shep1975 says:

    I would like to turn the Way Back Machine to April of 2006 and this great article from the ultra right-wing publication known as Slate.com:

    “Republican talk about price-gouging is inane at several levels. If you don’t have some sort of monopoly power, gouging is another word for charging the highest price the market will bear, also known as capitalism. This is why the FTC investigation has turned up nothing. What constrains filling stations from marking up gas excessively is not the fear of prosecution but competition from other filling stations. Even many Republican congressmen understand this, but calling for an investigation is a good way to deflect attention from the party’s favoritism toward corporations that are now so profitable that they have become unpopular. Of course, there is outrageous anti-competitive conduct in the petroleum industry—it’s called OPEC. But no presidential administration, especially the current one, takes seriously the idea that this price-fixing cartel is a criminal conspiracy under American law. Republicans would sooner propose a windfall-profits tax—an anti-market notion if ever there was one—as Sen. Arlen Specter recently did…

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi even moaned about high gas prices in her Earth Day statement last week. If you care, as Pelosi claims to, about clean air and preserving the coastline, you should welcome high gas prices. Even Al Gore, who once called cars “a mortal threat to the security of every nation,” decried high gas prices when he ran for president in 2000. ”

    http://www.slate.com/id/2140613/

  8. Schmidt says:

    “it’s called OPEC. But no presidential administration, especially the current one, takes seriously the idea that this price-fixing cartel is a criminal conspiracy under American law”

    I wouldn’t doubt that OPEC is manipulating the oil market. That said, we have no jurisdiction to do a damned thing about it. The Congressional hearings have been about whether American oil companies have been “price gouging” (which there is no evidence for). The Democrats believe OPEC is manipulating prices, so their plan is to put a windfall profits tax on American oil companies who aren’t price gouging? Fascinating.
    We can start drilling our more (can’t drill ALL of our own) of our own oil, or we can sit around complaining about OPEC and threatening to sue them.

  9. Schmidt says:

    “it’s called OPEC. But no presidential administration, especially the current one, takes seriously the idea that this price-fixing cartel is a criminal conspiracy under American law”

    I wouldn’t doubt that OPEC is manipulating the oil market. That said, we have no jurisdiction to do a damned thing about it. The Congressional hearings have been about whether American oil companies have been “price gouging” (which there is no evidence for). The Democrats believe OPEC is manipulating prices, so their plan is to put a windfall profits tax on American oil companies who aren’t price gouging? Fascinating.
    We can start drilling more (can’t drill ALL of our own) of our own oil, or we can sit around complaining about OPEC and threatening to sue them. We’ll see which gets us cheaper gas.

  10. BubbaRich says:

    OPEC can raise prices because we’ll pay higher prices. I don’t think OPEC wanted the recent insane escalation of prices, because it may motivate the US to reduce consumption. Although, come to think of it, the price of oil has increased by a factor of 3 or 4, and there’s no way that the US and China are going to cut oil imports to a third or a quarter of their previous values. OPEC might like this price, since they can get more money for shipping less product, and stretch out their reserves longer.

  11. MountainThinker says:

    Guys,
    While I disagree with Andre’s premise that the Democrats ARE providing meaningful leadership, I can’t whole-heartedly disagree with him that the GOP has failed in the same light.

    John McCain’s plan…undermine ethanol, build nuclear plants, and invest $2 Billion a year into Coal.

    Does anyone else think we’re looking at Ford-Carter ’76 all over again? It’ll have the same result, but Ford was out of touch and the wrong candidate for the Republicans then (despite being a truly decent man) and the same may very well prove true of John McCain now.

    Obama is a hipper 21st Century version of Jimmy Carter, and will produce similar results, I have little doubt. However, John McCain’s continued Bushification is discouraging me to the point of nausea. He got the surge right, and he’s a war hero with exceptionally strong military knowledge, but this is not an election for Sec of Defense…and it’s not going to magically become one short of an unexpected and (I pray) improbable national security event of great proportions…we (as Republicans) are waltzing our party toward an electoral massacre nationally…

  12. Ms_midtown says:

    There is zero in the Pelosi list that will reduce the importation ( energy independence ) of oil.

    Hassling OPEC over $130 has no effect on energy independence. If OPEC was charging $20 a barrel we would only import more OPEC oil.

    The only way to reduce oil dependence is to prohibit, or increase its import cost.

    Energy independence is a buzzword. There is nothing more frustrating than listening to elected officials talking about oil.
    Ethanol is a failure, this state should stop any subsidy. Anyone checked the price of corn on the cob lately?

  13. Just the Facts Please says:

    Price gouging is a word thrown around by folks who don’t understand much about it. For instance during the Katrina/Rita fuel crisis in Georgia there several thousand complaints made to the state of “price gouging”. How many were “real” – Less than 100.

    Everyone sees what you are paying for gas, what you don’t see is what the cost of product is. I have friends who are in the gasoline business who are facing a financial crisis. Gasoline at the retail level is a cash flow business. You basically pay for the product up front, unlike most products which are net/30, giving you the opportunity to pay your supplier after you have sold it. The biggest “winners” in the high gas arena are credit card companies which receive about 2.5 percent of the selling price when you pull out the plastic. Don’t believe me, check the profits at MasterCard since their IPO. At 4.00 per gallon, the “bank” makes about 10 cents per gallon of your purchase, which if you check, is considerably higher than the guy selling the stuff.

    just the facts…

  14. Chris says:

    Facts – please stop interjecting facts into partisan sniping. It just distracts the participants from blaming the other side.

  15. I Am Jacks Post says:

    “McCain’s plan undermines ethanol . . . ”

    Ethanol has earned every bit of the bad press it’s received. It doesn’t need any help from McCain.

    Government subsidy slut . . .

  16. I Am Jacks Post says:

    Andre, this is essentially what you just wrote:

    Democrats are better than Republicans. (citation: Nancypelosi.gov)

    Nice sourcing . . .

  17. Demonbeck says:

    With this Congress, the only way to expand the country’s refinery capacity is to make it a responsibility of the federal government.

    Of course, giving the responsibility to our federal government will ensure that it does nothing to reduce the cost of gasoline for the American taxpayer.

    It’s an endless quandary. The Dems are too much in bed with the enviros who will stop at nothing to kill any new refineries, more drilling for oil anywhere and all nuclear power suggestions. They will only listen to suggestions that search for more research on renewable fuel technologies that don’t work and only serve to continue the rising cost of fuel. Then they prance about railing against “big oil” and lambasting the CEOs of “big oil” for everything short of not changing their underwear on a regular basis.

    In case you didn’t notice, the Democratic Party gains a hell of a lot more from the continued rise in oil prices than anyone else.

  18. Bill Simon says:

    What an incredible statement from the Dems: “We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market.”

  19. Doug Deal says:

    Demonbeck,

    I am not so sure about that. Perhaps in previous years, but the issue that Republicans can stop their recent slide with is energy independence and out of control environmentalism.

    When gas went up to $2.00 then $3.00, people complained a little, bought the line that it was the oil companies and when prices went back down a little, it wasn’t really hurting their wallet.

    Now that it is over $4.00 and it looks like it is here to stay, with the ethanol debacle and everything else going on, pointing out the problems with the democrats close ties with the people that caused the prices to go up will be a lot easier.

    People are beyond scapegoating blame at this point, they want real answers.

    Keeping drilling illegal and not allowing refineries and nuclear power will be an easy issue to use aginst the Dems.

  20. jsm says:

    “The biggest “winners” in the high gas arena are credit card companies which receive about 2.5 percent of the selling price when you pull out the plastic.”

    Interesting point. Do you know if this applies to debit cards?

    I know it seems archaic these days, but QT still takes checks–the paper ones. 🙂

  21. Goldwater Conservative says:

    If the refineries are going to keep production down to keep costs high…then let the government nationalize them. Turn the [email protected] into a public utility.

  22. Icarus says:

    The refineries we have are old, run times exeed maintainance intervals, and Dems won’t allow permitting of new ones.

    So obviously, the solution is to nationalize the ones we have, because the government is so efficient at running the things they are already in charge of.

    I’ll now join the call for “Goldwater Conservative” to be forced to change his name.

    And if they do, GC, just think of it as Erick “nationalizing” it.

  23. BubbaRich says:

    I hear this a lot, but I haven’t seen any evidence for it. What evidence do any of you have that oil companies are making efforts to open more than token refineries, and what evidence do you have that “democrats” are stopping them?

  24. Bill Simon says:

    Because I think the permit process for building an oil refinery is a tougher process than permitting the construction of a nuclear power plant these days, Bubba.

  25. BubbaRich says:

    Glancing over the issues involved:

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/17/news/economy/refineries

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_refinery

    I see that there are very good reasons to restrict the location and emissions of refineries. I’m assuming they could build an oil company executives’ upscale neighborhood and put a new refinery in the middle of it, right? Otherwise they’re a bunch of NIMBY whiners!

    I also see that the whining might be a bit premature, unless you’re from California. From the CNN article above:
    =================================
    For example, Drevna noted that expansion projects at the nation’s existing refineries have had the effect of adding the equivalent of a brand new refinery every year. That increase came despite mandates for cleaner gasoline and diesel fuel, which take longer to make.

    And the future looks even brighter.

    “There is a tremendous amount of expansion,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, speaking of projects at existing facilities. “We will have a solid increase in North American refining capacity, but not for another two years.”

    Kloza said much of the expansion would come along the Gulf of Mexico and in the Midwest, an ideal spot to process heavy crude from Canada’s emerging oil sand deposits.
    =================================

    It looks like they can’t possibly do it any faster, anyway, and that they just want to panic people into allowing them to build these refineries next to their kids’ schools and to do it more cheaply.

    I’d like to hear some of the libertarians here explain exactly what rules about the construction of new refineries they object to, and how it would affect construction if those restrictions were removed.

    It’s fun to whine about the evil environmentalists, but it’s less fun to sicken or kill millions of people. Well, for some it is.

  26. ConservativeCaucus says:

    GC,

    I am still interested in hearing how exactly you are a Goldwater Conservative.

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