[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 81 (Tuesday, June 2, 2009)]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
CALCULATING YOUR SHARE OF ``CAP-AND-TRADE''
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of
January 6, 2009, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Akin) is recognized
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
Mr. AKIN. Good evening, Mr. Speaker. It's a pleasure to join you and
to take a look at a very interesting topic today. The whole idea of,
it's kind of a combination of thoughts, first of all, the idea of
global warming, and then how that relates to this cap-and-tax bill that
we've been hearing more about, and exactly what's behind all of this
discussion, because what we have here is something that is, if you want
to talk about change, there's a whole lot of change here.
This is a very, very significant proposal that's being made in terms
of the size of the tax that's involved, and the proposal that we're
actually going to change the climate of the world by some of these
different things that are going to be done by the government, a very
And so I thought, when we talk about global warming, there's a little
bit of the story that I think has been forgotten. Some of it, not
surprisingly, is the history of what's going on. I'd like to go back
just a little bit in what's been going on.
Let's go back to the year 1920, when newspapers in the 1920s were
filled with scientists' warnings of a fast approaching glacial age. The
Earth was going to get cold. And so you had to really be stocking up on
extra coal and overcoats and things in the 1920s.
In the 1930s it seems that the scientists changed their opinion, and
they reversed themselves, that there was going to be serious global
warming in the 1930s.
By 1972, Time magazine was citing numerous scientific reports of
imminent runaway glaciation. So it's going to get cold again.
In 1975, Newsweek reported that the scientific evidence of an ``Ice
Age'' called to stockpile food. And we also were even engaged in
discussions about melting some of the Arctic ice cap or something
because of this Ice Age that was readily, eminently approaching.
By 1976 the U.S. government said the Earth is heading into some sort
of mini ice age. And now we have back again, global warming. In fact,
global warming is even getting a little bit out of fashion now, and
people want to talk about climate change. It's a little safer to talk
about climate change because you're not predicting whether it's going
to get colder or warmer. But anyway, we've had some considerable
amounts of disagreement, depending on what year you're on. So we go
back and forth. It's either going to be the sky is going to fall
because it's going to freeze, or the sky is falling because it's going
to get warmer.
So we have today this whole subject of global warming. That's what
the most common term that you hear nowadays is global warming. And I
think the facts of the matter are that there has been a considerable
amount of disagreement, depending on which decade you're living in.
I'm joined this evening by some very good friends, some respected
colleagues, a medical doctor, as a matter of fact, and another
gentleman from Pennsylvania, a very big coal and energy producing
state. We're going to be chatting with them in just a minute.
But I thought it would be appropriate just to kind of lay down, first
of all, historically some of the differences of opinion, depending on
which decade you live in.
The general theory today, the way it works is the idea that mankind
is creating CO2. We do that when we breathe,
so there's not much scientific argument about that. There are other
ways that CO2 is produced as well. Whenever we make a
campfire we produce a certain amount of CO2 as we burn some
combustible with the oxygen in the air.
And the theory is that this CO2, because we're burning so
much in the way of hydrocarbons, now is actually affecting the
environment. And so we're going to take a look at that.
And the question is whether or not, really, this CO2 is
affecting the environment. I think most scientists agree that when we
create or when we produce CO2 it has some impact on the
environment. The question is how much. And then it's also a big
question as to whether or not there's anything we could really do about
that in a practical sense, or are there any sort of cost-effective
solutions. And of course there is a solution that's on the table that's
being proposed. It's a cap-and-tax bill that's being proposed by the
Democrats. And it follows the pattern of most Democrat bills, and that
is, I've got a great big whopping tax increase, and it has a whole lot
of government regulations.
If we go back in history a little bit, history is an amusing thing to
take a look at. One of the things that history tells us is how
effective the U.S. government is in solving these kinds of problems.
We created a thing called the U.S. Department of Energy. Maybe a lot
of people know we have a U.S. Department of Energy, but they may not
recall why it was that the Department of Energy was created. Well, the
fact of the matter is the Department of Energy was created so that we
would not be dependent on foreign energy. And so, for years we've added
more and more employees to the U.S. Department of Energy so that we
won't be dependent on foreign energy, and each year we become more
dependent on foreign energy. So it's amusing to postulate that we're
going to solve this problem using a lot of taxation and a government
I think the Republicans--I'm a Republican, my colleagues that are
joining me tonight are Republicans--I think that we prefer a more free
enterprise kind of solution, and we want to take a look at the premises
behind what we're talking about.
I'm joined by my good friend, G.T. Thompson. He's from Pennsylvania.
I'd like to recognize Congressman Thompson, who is already making
himself a name here as being a very feet-on-the-ground, commonsense
kind of guy, has an intuitive sense for free enterprise, and also
potential dangers that come from this idea of we can solve all the
problems with a great big whopping tax increase and government
Please, I yield time.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Well, I thank the gentleman from
Missouri. Your overview of this, your reference to real science is
refreshing. In the debate and most of the debate of the majority party
here, it's not so much based on real science as political science or
even, to some degree, science fiction. And so, to look at why this--and
I looked at every piece of legislation in terms of cost benefits. And
when we look at the benefits of this, I think human activity, it's
acknowledged, does contribute towards carbon dioxide emissions. But
it's less than 4 percent. To put that into perspective, forest fires,
wildfires contribute 10 percent of CO2 emissions. And so not
even with the debate of, you know, are we warming the Earth or not
warming the Earth, there's a lot of smart folks out there that are
publishing research or earning their dissertations based on debating
that science. But what the experts agree upon, the researchers agree
is, human activity is less than 4 percent contributes towards
You know, in terms of the cap-and-trade, cap-and-tax that we're
Mr. AKIN. Could I interrupt you just a minute because I thought you
were on a rather important topic, because the whole crux of the idea
for this huge tax proposal and all kinds of sweeping changes and
government power and influence and regulation is based on the fact that
CO2 is such a bad thing, and it's based on the assumption
that the CO2 that we're releasing by burning fossil fuels is
creating some kind of a problem. I mean, that's the whole linchpin that
this debate is going around.
And yet you have, here's kind of an interesting quote here. And I
think I'd like to get into this just a little bit. Here's a former U.S.
Senator and he says, we've got to ride the global warming issue. Even
if the theory of global warming is wrong, we'll be doing the right
thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
So, in other words, there's a solution that they have in mind,
whether global warming is going on or not. And the thing that's been
embarrassing, you've noticed we don't hear as much global warming. We
hear climate change, and the reason is because the planet has not
really been warming the last number of years as all of these economic
models were saying that it was going to. And that doesn't necessarily
mean the CO2 that we've generated hasn't created some
warming. It just seems that the world climate is more connected to
sunspot activity than these other things.
But here you're just talking about the effect of CO2, and
I thought this was interesting. This is how much does the human
activity affect greenhouse gases? The block in light blue here
represents all the greenhouse gases, which comprise only 2 percent of
the total atmosphere. So this is all the greenhouse gases.
And that yellow block over there on the end is the CO2.
And the little tiny red block inside the yellow block is the part that
our human activity is creating. And so the question is, in terms of
leverage, does this little red dot over here have that much impact on
And this is, I don't think anybody disputes the percentages of these
gases and the mixture. So the question then is, is this stuff that
we're doing really that important?
And you just said the forest fires, which were created by poor
environmental policy by the way, a lot of them, because we're not
allowed to clean that brush out, the underbrush, and then it burns
everything and burns Bambi and snowy owls and everything else because
we didn't want to clear the brush out, and that's generating, what is
that, 2\1/2\ times more than all of the coal and oil and things we
I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I think it's important for us to
stick on what science, what really does science say. And this is not an
easy thing for any scientist to figure out, is it, because what's
happening is there's all sorts of things that play together, and so,
the CO2 we generate could be warming the planet some, but it
could be also that we're in a time where the planet is growing colder.
So all of that, we don't really understand that totally, do we?
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. I think the gentleman points out an
important point. These are all based on models and strictly
Mr. AKIN. Some of the models said that we're going to have surf at
the front steps of the Capitol pretty soon. I was really looking
forward to that.
Go ahead. I yield.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Well, and the purpose overall of this
is to really eliminate all energy other than green energy. And today, I
mean, the energy sources that are only seen as viable by the majority
party under cap-and-tax are, frankly, solar and wind. And today, that
represents less than 1 percent of meeting our energy needs in this
So say we work real hard and we give it that Manhattan Project, and
we absolutely double that, the energy capacity of solar and wind, well,
that's 2 percent. We still have a huge gap that this country has that
we need to be able to fuel our vehicles, heat our homes.
And I'm from a very rural district. The folks in my area, we have
some pretty harsh, frigid winters, and we need to heat our homes. We
commute in my home for work, for groceries. You know, frankly, a lot of
folks in my area commute just to pick up their mail. And the cost of
cap-and-tax, I believe, is projected, well, with, just on gasoline
alone to increase by over 70 percent.
Mr. AKIN. I appreciate your bringing that up, and I'd like to get
into that just a little bit more as we move on this evening into that
area, about the Democrat proposal, what it does to people's costs,
But we're also joined by a good friend of mine, Dr. Fleming. And
have a technical or scientific background are a little rare in the
Chambers here. So to have actually a guy who's passed high school
science is tremendously helpful. And Dr. Fleming is from Louisiana.
I'm a misfit in politics. I'm an engineer by training. I don't know
how they ever--there's few of us in here that are engineers.
But Dr. Fleming, I would be encouraged if you'd join us too in our
Mr. FLEMING. Well, thank you. And I want to thank my friend, of
course, from Missouri for having this hour discussion, very important
discussion, coming right at the heels of our classmates from the other
side of the aisle speaking on the same subject, but with a different
I also thank my fellow Republican classmate, Mr. Thompson from
Pennsylvania as well for his discussion.
Well, let me just point out that, you know, you don't have to be
detailed in the science to understand one empirical fact, and that is,
this globe has warmed and cooled several times in its life before there
was the first emission of fossil fuels.
So, that being said, we already have proof positive that the Earth
can warm under its own circumstances and its own environment and its
own test tube, if you will. And you just mentioned sunspots and other
activities. There are many things that go into the global warming
effect and global cooling effect.
And as you say, now that we're not able to accurately actually
predict that the globe is warming, now the whole issue is changing to
climate change, so that whatever happens different than what it is at
this moment can somehow be blamed.
Mr. AKIN. Just reclaiming my time, somehow or another, this whole
thing strikes me, if it weren't so serious, as being a comedy. You
know, we just went from winter to spring in Missouri. When we go from
winter to spring, that's a good climate change. I don't want to stop
that climate change, you know. Who in the world would want to put
politicians in charge of the weather anyway? What a dumb idea. Anyhow,
we need to be a little bit serious because this is a tremendous tax
that we're talking about, a tremendous removal of freedom away from
Americans, and it is a tremendous investment in more and more big
government solutions. That is extremely scary in spite of the fact that
the science seems to be a little bit amazing. We'll get into that, too.
I was just recalling that my friend from Pennsylvania was here with
the guy from Spain, I think it was, 2 weeks ago. They were talking
about how Spain has driven this cap-and-tax, and they were talking
about what has happened, and we're going to get into it. So it isn't
something we're going to speculate about. It has been tried. We can
say: here is what happened in Spain. Do we really want to reproduce
this or not?
I didn't mean to interrupt you, Doctor. Please continue.
Mr. FLEMING. Thank you. To sort of gear down to the real topic
tonight, I heard talk from the other side of the aisle this evening
about terms such as ``investment,'' which really, to me, is a code for
tax, and also ``jobs'' or ``green jobs.''
Mr. AKIN. You have to translate. ``Investment'' means we're going to
Mr. FLEMING. Exactly. Exactly.
Mr. AKIN. Thank you, Doctor.
Mr. FLEMING. Also, it was very interesting that the discussion hinged
somewhat on the fact that this investment creates more jobs and that it
creates revenue down the line. If you listen closely to the discussion,
what you hear is really good old-fashioned subsidies. That is, whenever
the government is subsidizing forms of energy that are not cost-
effective at this point and whenever the technologies are not there,
what we really get is a pass-through of taxpayer dollars that goes into
what I would call artificial, or papier mache jobs, so-called ``green
jobs.'' We'll learn from the Spanish experiment that has been going on
now for 10 years that, for 2.2 jobs that are lost, there is only one
so-called ``green job'' gained. That job 90 percent of the time is in
implementation and construction. It is not a continuous job.
Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time, as for the green jobs that are being
talked about, we're going to create all of these green jobs in Spain.
They call them ``subprime jobs,'' you see. This is the same old warmed
over Keynesian economics that we've been hearing since the days of FDR.
That is, if the government taxes everybody a whole lot and takes the
money and pays people to do stuff, then we've somehow created jobs.
The trouble is, when you tax them, you have prevented other jobs from
being created. So, in effect, what you've done is, yes, you've created
jobs, but you've lost 2.2 jobs. So what sort of math is that? That's
not a very good mathematical formula. So there's this talk about green
jobs. In Spain, they call them ``subprime jobs,'' and they've now got,
I think, 17.5 percent unemployment as a result of this nifty project
that they're doing to get rid of CO2. The trouble is, even
measured on the face of it, they're making more CO2 than
they did before, so it isn't working.
Anyway, proceed, Doctor.
Mr. FLEMING. Well, just to extend that a little further, where are
these jobs going?
It turns out that some of the Spanish jobs have come to America
because we understand that the net effect of tax, or cap-and-trade, or
cap-and-tax as we call it, is that there is a higher cost to produce
goods for manufacturing. So as a result, for someone who owns a factory
or a company that perhaps owns a factory, he has to find the most cost-
effective location for that factory. Otherwise, he can't compete in the
worldwide economy. We know today that this is, indeed, a worldwide
economy. We can't get away from that fact.
Just today, a Chinese company bought Hummer--a portion of General
Motors. So we know that to be true. Well, we actually have received a
dividend from Spain going down this road. We've actually had companies
coming to the U.S., and we've actually gained jobs as a result of
Spain's having gone down this cap-and-trade boondoggle.
Mr. AKIN. If I could just interrupt and go over to my good friend
from Pennsylvania, to Congressman Thompson, let's flesh out this idea.
If you do this solution that the Democrats are proposing, which is a
cap-and-tax or a cap-and-trade or whatever you want to call it, how
does that end up with our losing jobs? Let's go through that very
specifically so that people can understand it, because that's what
we're talking about. That's what happened in Spain. Let's go through
that model and identify where those jobs went.
The brag that the Democrats were saying an hour ago was that they're
going to create jobs and that everything is going to be better. Yet the
very thing they're proposing in Spain has gotten them to 17.5 percent
unemployment. Let's go through how that happens.
Can you please help us with that, Congressman Thompson?
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Sure. I think the important baseline on
that 17.5 percent unemployment today in the country of Spain is the
fact that, when cap-and-trade was instituted, it was 7 percent.
Unemployment was 7 percent.
Mr. AKIN. So they've driven it up 10 percent.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Over 10 percentage points is the
outcome. Those really are the only two major outcomes that I see of
cap-and-trade--higher unemployment and higher energy costs.
In terms of the job losses, that's what this bill is all about. This
is a jobs bill. They're correct on that part; but, unfortunately, it's
a job loss bill. You know, they talk about all of the green jobs that
were created in Spain as a part of cap-and-trade and the proposal of
cap-and-trade here to create jobs. Well, in Spain, for every 10 green
jobs that were created, mostly related to solar or to wind, only one
was sustainable within that economy by the industry that paid for that
job and for its implementation. As my colleague from Louisiana talked
about, nine out of those 10 jobs are still around today because the
country of Spain doesn't want to see unemployment driven higher.
So how do they hang onto those nine out of 10 jobs? It's a subsidy
bubble. There are tens of billions of dollars annually that the country
of Spain has to
infuse into the alternative energy industry so that it doesn't drive
their unemployment up over 20 percentage points. You think about what
this does to cost. There is no industry that will go untouched. Any
industry that uses energy--and that's all of them--is going to see
significant energy increases and costs. Today, especially in these
economic times and even in the best of times, to be competitive
globally and to have our costs be put up by--I don't know--say 30
percent or more, that totally makes us uncompetitive within the world.
Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time, let's go through this. So in other
words, let's say we did what the Democrats want to do: let's do this
great big tax increase. This is a very big tax increase. So what we're
going to do is essentially tax energy. Now, as to energy issues within
companies, some companies are using more than others, particularly
aluminum manufacturing, steel manufacturing, your basic, hard
manufacturing jobs. These then support lots of other burger flipping
types of jobs that are very heavily energy intensive, but also food is
very energy intensive. So now what's going to happen?
You're going to tax energy. When you tax it, it means the prices go
up. The energy-producing company doesn't just pay the tax. It pays the
tax, and it passes it on to the consumer. So the person who flips the
light switch on or the person who lights up his pilot light to run his
stove or his heater for natural gas or the people who fire up their
diesel engines or their gasoline engines are paying more money.
Therefore, those businesses are less competitive. In being less
competitive, there are more foreign people who can compete and who can
send products into this country. We can't compete against them because
our prices go up. So, effectively, we send jobs overseas that way.
We're less competitive. So the jobs go away.
The government taxes everybody in the private sector. The money comes
out of the private sector. They use it to hire somebody. This then
displaces a couple of jobs, and here we go around in this circle. This
is basically what Morgenthau tried, the Secretary of the Treasury under
FDR. He said that we're going to raise the taxes a whole lot, that
we're going to spend a whole lot of money to ``stimulate the economy''
and that it will drive unemployment down.
Then he came here to this Chamber 9 years later, before the Ways and
Means Committee, and his quote was: ``We've tried it and it doesn't
work.'' Those were exactly his words: ``It doesn't work.'' So he said
that now we've got high unemployment and a whole lot of taxes and a big
debt to boot.
So this is the same old tried-and-true Democrat scheme of raising
taxes and of creating and trusting the government, of trusting that the
government is going to run it better than would free enterprise. Yet
we've got this Department of Energy out there that was founded to get
us off our dependence on foreign energy; and ever since it has been
founded, it has gotten worse.
I yield to my good friend from Pennsylvania.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Well, thank you, sir.
You mentioned natural gas. We could talk all evening on different
types of manufacturing that utilize natural gas, not just as a process
for heating and for energy but also as an ingredient. Natural gas is a
key component in almost any type of manufacturing. I want to just focus
briefly on two.
You know, some of the folks who help feed us are our family farms
throughout the Nation; and I don't care what they're raising or what
they're growing, many of those family farms use processes that use
natural gas, specifically with fertilizer for growing crops--for
growing our food. It feeds this Nation. When we see under the cap-and-
trade of natural gas, it's clean. It's a very clean fossil fuel, but
it's a fossil fuel that's going to be punished and penalized under cap-
and-trade. We're going to raise the cost of food for America because of
cap-and-trade and feel the impact of taxing the use of natural gas on
Mr. AKIN. Just reclaiming my time, you know, I've got a chart I'd
like to talk to you about because we figured out what the size of this
tax is. You take the average per family, and we're going to go in a
minute and take a look at what it is going to cost the average family
every year for the next 8 years for this $1.2 trillion tax increase.
We've been joined by another doctor, a medical doctor but also a guy
who graduated from high school science as well, from Georgia, my good
friend, Congressman Gingrey.
It's just great to have you in our discussion this evening. Please
jump in. I yield.
Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from
Missouri for yielding time to me and for bringing to this body this
I was watching our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the
Democrat majority. I think they were mostly freshmen who had the
previous hour, and they were praising, of course, the American Clean
Energy Act and Security Act of 2009, and they were talking about all of
the great and wonderful things that it does.
Certainly, there are some good things in the bill. I'm not going to
stand here, Mr. Speaker, and completely criticize every aspect of it.
Our freshmen colleagues--our Democrat colleagues--spoke very
eloquently, but they never talked about the whole picture. I don't know
where they were. They obviously were not Members of this body in the
110th Congress when we Republicans stayed here a year ago in August
rather than going home for our vacations, or for our August recess, or
for our codels. The Speaker and others rushed out of here to head out
to foreign places, leaving Americans high and dry with $4 a gallon
regular gasoline at the time. That's when the real commitment came on
our side of the aisle to say it's unconscionable to leave this body and
to do nothing for the American people and to say, oh, well, we'll take
care of it in 5 weeks when we get back in early September. That's
exactly what the Democrat majority did a little less than a year ago.
When I heard my freshmen colleagues on the other side of the aisle
talking about how wonderful this new cap-and-trade energy bill is, I
think one of them even described it as the foundation for new
prosperity from sea to shining sea. Well, let me just tell you, Mr.
Speaker: the folks in the 11th District of Georgia, in northwest
Georgia--in fact, in the entire State of Georgia, in fact in the entire
Southeast--don't think this is a foundation for new prosperity from sea
to shining sea. It might be wonderful for northern New Mexico. It might
be good for upstate New York. It may be good for some parts of
Virginia. It may even be good, I guess--although I can't imagine how--
in some parts of Michigan, which are the areas that these freshmen
represent on the Democratic side of the aisle.
I want to tell you that it is not good in the Southeast. I think my
colleagues have already pointed out that what the Democratic majority
has done with this American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 has
crammed down the throats of the American people not a comprehensive,
all-of-the-above approach. It is not going to be a foundation for new
prosperity from sea to shining sea because what it does is raise energy
prices for every American family by an average of $3,000 a year.
Mr. AKIN. I can't help but jump in here.
Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I would be glad to yield back to the
gentleman who controls the time. I thank him for allowing me to be part
of the discussion.
Mr. AKIN. It's a treat to have you. I think you brought up a couple
of very, very significant things.
First of all, we stood in this Chamber just a couple of months ago
and heard the President say that anybody making less than $250,000
doesn't need to worry about any tax increases. Yet, this tax increase
that is being proposed happens to anybody who flips a light switch.
That means you could make a lot less than $250,000 a year and get hit
with a tax.
This cap-and-tax--these circles here--represent different, expensive
things that America has bought.
This is the war in Iraq and this is the Korean war, and you have got
the gulf war over here. Over in the far right you've got Hurricane
Katrina, different things like this. This is World War II,
this big blue one. This is this tax: $1.9 trillion worth of tax. That's
what's being proposed here. And we're just told if you're making
$250,000 or less, you won't get any tax, and yet this taxes you when
you turn the lights on, when you turn the thermostat up, when you start
your car. That's what this tax is about right here. And when you eat
food, that's what this tax is about.
Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. If the gentleman will yield for an additional
Exactly. You break down this cost right at $3,000 a year for a family
of four, it breaks down, as the gentleman has pointed out, Mr. Speaker,
a 90 percent increase in the cost of electricity, 74 percent increase
in the cost of gasoline, 55 percent increase in the cost of natural
Now, when I was home during this Memorial Day remembrance and
district work period, I went to visit one of the plants in my
district--again, northwest Georgia, the 11th--Dow Chemical, and what
they do is make all kinds of products out of polyurethane, and the
dashboard in your automobile is an example. And the cost, their
feedstock is natural gas. And what we're doing is putting additional
costs on all of these manufacturers, everybody that produces
electricity, and it was a cost that was never there before. And
somebody has to pay for that cost. And who is that somebody? The
I yield back to the gentleman.
Mr. AKIN. We've also been joined by my very good friend, Congressman
Bishop, who talked before on this subject, very knowledgeable.
And I would yield time to Congressman Bishop. Please jump in.
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I, unfortunately, don't have the wonderful accent
that my good friend from Georgia has, but I will try and slur some
words together to see if I can emulate that in some small way.
The problem that I think all of us here in Congress are facing, as
well as the people out there are facing, is that the government has
promised they're going to do something. Not market forces. The
government is going to do something. And this cap-and-tax policy is an
effort of the government to try to ratchet down carbon emissions into
the atmosphere by changing the way industry works in an effort to have
them changing the way they produce things. That change passes on to the
consumer. Everything we use, as the gentleman said, has some kind of
carbon footprint. The essence is that not only industries but
individuals will change their lifestyles.
I don't care how you went to spin it. It is still a tax on people--we
are looking at estimates around $400 billion--a tax on people that
doesn't go to changing the amount of energy we have or changing the way
we live our lives to better the people's lives. It's an amount of money
that goes simply to the government. It is a windfall to the government.
Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time.
They're talking about using that for socialized medicine or
something, right? It has nothing to do with CO2 at all.
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. That is exactly the point there. If people are
going to actually put out that kind of money, they should know what
they're going to get and they should know what the goal of all of this
The goal has been stated that we'll have an 80 percent reduction by
2050. Sounds wonderful. In my particular State of Utah, we have a
carbon footprint of roughly 66 million tons of CO2 per year
and a population of 2.6 million. If you simply do the math, 80 percent
by 2050 means we will be producing in 2050 2.2 tons of CO2.
Sounds like a lot. Except the last time in the history of the State of
Utah we had a carbon output that was that low, I'm sorry, Brigham Young
wasn't there. If you tried to do something for this Nation, the
Pilgrims hadn't landed before you do that. So the question is how do we
actually do that? How do we reconcile a lifestyle with these elements,
especially when there are 6.2 billion on the Earth, 2 billion who have
never switched on a light?
Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time.
Those numbers are incredible.
What you're saying is we want to maintain--maybe we don't want to
maintain our current standard of living but we want to go back to a
pre-Pilgrim America in terms of CO2 output?
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. It's the only way it works as long as you can
keep the other 2 billion people in the world who don't have electricity
today from ever getting electricity.
We can keep our lights, our flat-screen TVs, our computers, our cell
phones, everything that uses electricity now, our low-cost food without
bugs because fertilizer is fossil fuels. We can keep the clothes and
the plastics. You go into an emergency room, everything except steel is
part of fossil fuels. Composites made for airplanes now that make them
lighter weight and more efficient is all gas. You fly here back and
forth on gas.
The problem we have with this entire concept is basically we're
saying we're going to get rid of fossil fuels at the same time we live
with fossil fuels, and that is simply nothing short of schizophrenia on
Here's a problem. I had a great friend that gave a speech at one
point. And one of the things we need to be looking at is the fact that
all of these, what we classify as alternative fuel sources, really are
supplemental fuel sources. If you add everything we do from solar and
wind power together, it's one-sixth of 1 percent of our energy
consumption. You try to make one of those pie charts with that and it's
a thin line. You can't get anything more than that. That's the best a
PowerPoint--which also uses electricity--would ever produce. And we get
that with 20 years or 30 years of the government having spent $20
billion to try to increase wind and solar power.
President Obama said we want to double that figure. Actually, in the
last 3 years of the Bush administration, we doubled that figure.
Admittedly, it's a higher base now. It would be harder to do at the
next doubling. But if you double it, you go from one-sixth to one-third
of 1 percent. And that's on the assumption that no economy grows
anywhere else. Everything remains flat.
Mr. AKIN. Now, just reclaiming my time.
Now, my understanding was what we heard from the guy from Spain, he
said that they had been able to get a lot of windmills and solar panels
out there and that it was a significant part of what they generated.
But he said here was the problem: When the weather didn't cooperate,
they had to tell the big industries, You can't make any aluminum today
because we don't have any electricity because the wind isn't blowing or
the sun isn't shining. And they told the steel manufacturers, You can't
make any steel. And so these companies are moving guess where? To
America. They're moving out of Spain because of the fact that the
energy is no longer reliable.
To make things worse--what they described to me was really chilling,
and I need to jump over to my good friend from Louisiana who is also
here on this, but this is what really stuck in my mind. He said what
they did was they took a whole bunch of bureaucrats and they guaranteed
them that they could sell energy to the government at a certain high
price so those people would invest in solar panels and windmills. They
guaranteed the price, and now they've got this thing created and it's a
political monster because you have all of these people with windmills
and solar panels and they don't want to politically change it because
that's where their revenue is coming from. So they've created this
thing that's driving over 17 percent unemployment and all kinds of
people are in on the government take and they don't want to change it.
My good friend from Louisiana, Congressman Scalise, please jump into
Mr. SCALISE. I thank my friend for talking about this issue.
This cap-and-trade energy tax, this proposal that this administration
and this leadership in Congress has brought forward--you're talking
about the Spain study, and Spain is an interesting study because there
are other countries that have gone down this road. So there are some
good models to look at and see what is cap-and-trade, what has this
national energy tax done to other countries, and you go to Europe and
see the devastation to their economies.
And you look at Spain. They just did a study on the Spain experiment
in cap-and-trade, and they came back with some numbers that showed, for
every green job they created, they lost
2.2 regular jobs. And what's even more than that is that 9 out of 10 of
those new jobs they created were temporary jobs.
So, in essence, for every one permanent new job they created with
cap-and-trade energy tax, they lost 20 regular permanent jobs in their
So if you look at what's happening here in the United States with
this proposal, this cap-and-trade energy tax, it literally would run--
estimates by the National Association of Manufacturers say that it
would run 3 to 4 million jobs, American jobs, run them overseas to
countries like China, India, and Brazil that are not going to comply
So the real irony is for those people who really do believe that we
need to reduce carbon emissions--ultimately we all recognize that
carbon emissions have the same effect if they're emitted in the United
States or in China. And so the real irony is, if you want to reduce
carbon emissions, if you support cap-and-trade, you're going to have an
increase in worldwide carbon emissions because the jobs that are done
here in the United States, for example, that produce steel, to produce
steel in the United States, and that same steel is going to be produced
in China, for example. The same steel produced in China will emit four
times the amount of carbon that the steel in the United States would
emit because we already have tougher environmental regulations in
So for the people that are trying to use cap-and-trade, this energy
tax to reduce carbon emissions, you'll actually have an increase in
carbon emissions because the jobs that are in America right now that
will go overseas, that we will lose in our economy, the 3 to 4 million
jobs we will lose in tough economic times while American consumers
actually end up paying over $2,000 or $3,000 a year in their
electricity bill, those jobs go to China.
Mr. AKIN. What you're saying is, in simple terms, this cap-and-tax
not only won't work; it's going to make a bad situation worse. It's not
only going to create unemployment, but it's going to create more
The amusing thing is there is a chart here that--I just discovered
this. If we were to double our nuclear power production--we're
currently producing about 20 percent of our electric power through
nuclear, 25 percent, somewhere in that range. If we were to double it,
it would have the same effect as taking almost every passenger car off
the road in terms of getting rid of CO2. And yet the funny
thing is, do you know what happened in Spain, what they did with
nuclear? They shut their nuclear stuff down, which is absolutely
insane, because nuclear is the one kind of energy that doesn't make any
CO2 at all and yet they shut it down. So this whole thing
about CO2 being such a big problem, it seems like we're
talking out of both sides of our mouth.
I promised my good friend from Utah I would let him have the last
word before he had to scoot out of here.
Okay. We'll go back over to the gentleman from Louisiana.
Mr. SCALISE. Ultimately, we need a national energy policy. We don't
have that in our country. So you've got very clear differences. The
approach that we here that have been talking tonight support is a
comprehensive national energy policy that understands that we've got
our own national resources like oil, natural gas. We can develop clean
coal technology. We can promote more nuclear, and we can use that to
fund more solar and wind and other alternative sources of energy, but
using our natural resources in America, not shipping jobs overseas like
the cap-and-trade energy tax proposal by our colleagues on the
Mr. AKIN. Now you're getting me excited. You're talking about freedom
instead of a whole bunch of government taxes and bureaucracy. What
you're talking about allows Americans, empowering Americans to use the
resources that we have, the technology, the innovation, and to develop
energy from all different kinds of ways within our country and let that
energy compete in a free market sense and let people buy the energy
they want to buy.
Mr. SCALISE. And reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil while
creating good jobs here in America, as opposed to their plan which
taxes people on their energy bills and runs jobs to countries like
China and India that will emit more carbon for doing the exact same
thing we do here.
So I yield back.
Mr. AKIN. I really appreciate your emphasis on free enterprise, free
solutions, and not government bureaucracies. But it still just dazzles
me that the Spanish were able to sell this thing politically that
they're worried about CO2 and they shut down the nuclear,
where we say here we just double our amount of nuclear and we get rid
of all emissions of almost every passenger car on our highways. That's
Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I am glad you feel excited right now, because one
of the things that we are talking about in Congress is alternatives and
other ideas. And as we have gone through this, we have shown that the
cap-and-trade policy is nothing more then a tax. There are lots of
negatives that go around with it. It's idealism, because the
alternatives we have are not able to replace fossil fuels yet unless we
want to totally change our lives. And there are easier ways than
government mandates to get it done: allowing the markets to work--which
I hate to say, especially from a ``just say no'' party, but if you
include the no cost stimulus bill that many of us here have sponsored,
H.R. 2300, which is from the Republican Study Committee in the Western
Caucus--I think all of us here sponsored--those are viable options that
make life better by having a reliable and sufficient energy to drive
down the costs to help us find a bridge to come up with supplemental,
not alternative, but supplemental energy and to do it in an orderly and
efficient manner where people get to choose.
The government doesn't pick the winners. People get to pick the
winners. There aren't those options out there. And what you got excited
about is exactly what many of us here are trying to do. It is another
voice. It is another option. Let the American people know it is out
there and available.
Mr. AKIN. I appreciate that great plug for freedom. I think there is
something--there are a few statistics that all of our guests here
tonight know these things.
But an awful lot of people don't know about it, and here's something
that I thought was just amazing. If I were to say to you that this
place where we work here, the U.S. Congress, is polarized between
Republicans and Democrats on the abortion issue, you'd go, yawn, well
of course they're polarized.
But what I don't think a lot of people know is that this Chamber is
more polarized on the energy issue than we are on the abortion issue.
We went back and took a look at about 8 years of voting between the two
parties on developing American energy. And you know what we found? It's
no surprise to you gentlemen. Ninety percent of the time where there is
some proposal to help the development of American energy, Republicans
voted for it, and even in the most mundane or the most easy to get
along with politically, 86 to 88 percent of the Democrats voted ``no.''
There is a huge party-line difference on the development of American
And I just think a lot of people aren't aware of that, but people say
there's no difference between the parties. Boy, there sure is on this
issue, isn't there?
And my good friend Dr. Fleming, I would appreciate you again joining
us in the discussion here.
Mr. FLEMING. Well, I thank the gentleman. I think that really the
extension of what you just said is what is the real agenda behind this,
and I think that we've recognized in the last few years that the
American taxpayer has had enough. They don't want to pay any more
taxes. Americans feel like they pay enough on the city level, county
level, State and Federal level, and I think that our more liberal
friends, our tax friendly friends, have realized this, and now they're
coming up with schemes to disguise taxes.
And I think Congressman Dingell said it better than anybody in this
Chamber--and of course, he's a Democrat--that this is a tax, a very big
tax, and I think that really strikes to the heart of what the purpose
of this is. Someone a moment ago made reference to the fact that we're
going to need at least $1.2 trillion if we go forward with a single-
payer, comprehensive health care system, Medicare for all, if you
will. And I think that those who support that are scrambling around to
find a tax that can be defined as something not a tax, and I think
they've got this cap-and-tax program squarely in their sights.
Mr. AKIN. Just reclaiming for a moment here, just to support what
you're saying, this is kind of interesting. This is a Gallup poll about
how do different people that are concerned with the environment, how do
they rank global warming as compared to other kinds of environmental
And this is March 2008 and March 2009. You can see both of these
charts. It hasn't changed that much over a year, but the thing that was
the most important to people in terms of environmental was the
pollution of drinking water. That was their number one thing, and then
they wanted water pollution, was also eighty-something percent, very
important to people in terms of environmental concerns. All the way
down, all the way over here to the smaller side, global warming is the
last one, and yet that's all we've been doing for a month is global
warming, and it suggests that maybe global warming isn't the real
issue. Maybe that's just the horse that's supposed to pull a big fat
tax increase. That's what we're starting to see here, and I yield to my
friend from Georgia.
Mr. GINGREY. I appreciate the gentleman yielding to me, Mr. Speaker,
because this is a great segue into what I think is the bottom line
When Madam Speaker became the Speaker in January of 2007, it was
clear that her signature issue was this issue of global warming, and
shortly after that Al Gore got a Nobel Prize. He shared it with an
intergovernmental climate control panel of the United Nations, and of
course, he came before the Science Committee and Energy and Commerce
Committee. This was their signature issue. This was the most important
thing, and here we are in 2009 in the deepest of recessions, the worst
recession that we've experienced since the Great Depression--
Mr. AKIN. Since Jimmy Carter.
Mr. GINGREY. If the gentleman will allow me, just on that same theme
that you were just mentioning, this is not the number one concern of
the American people today. The number one concern of the American
people today is their jobs and their families and the cost of all these
things, not just the cost of electricity, but everything that they have
to purchase and concern over what's going to happen to Social Security
and Medicare. And here we are going crazy about this cap-and-trade when
we're taping our hands behind our back, penalizing the American people
and losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands. It is pure idiocy,
especially in an economic time of crisis like we're in.
Mr. AKIN. I would just like to discuss this a little bit with my good
friend from Pennsylvania, Congressman Thompson. You know, I'm from
Missouri, and I've been a legislator now a number of years. One of the
things that is amusing is that the legislature passes some bill to do
something, and the exact opposite thing happens of what they meant to
I'm just picturing some of my friends here tonight from Georgia and
from Pennsylvania and Louisiana. I'm thinking about Missouri. And you
put a big old tax on natural gas and electricity, and you know what the
good old boy is going to do? They're going to break out that steel
chainsaw. They're going to go to the wood lot. They're going to be
cutting firewood, and they're going to be heating with wood and
generating twice the CO2 that would have happened if this
silly bill hadn't been passed.
And the funny thing is it must be happening that way in Spain because
their CO2 has gone up in spite of the fact they got all this
unemployment and taxes and this huge government bureaucracy they've
I just wanted to allow my friend from Pennsylvania, if you wanted to
jump in on that subject.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Absolutely. I appreciate that.
I mean, this is a tax that hits everybody and everything, every
business, every industry, every family, and it's a tax on everyone. And
I tell you, the folks, I tell you what makes it an immoral tax is the
fact that it taxes those folks who are just now maybe getting by
paycheck to paycheck, those people that work hard every day and do
their best and they're just making it. You know, what they bring in
income, they're putting out on bills. And in Pennsylvania because our
electricity, 60 percent of it comes from coal, we have about 35, 38
percent that comes from nuclear and nuclear's taxed. Even though
there's no CO2 emissions, under cap-and-trade, nuclear is
going to be taxed the same way.
Mr. AKIN. Just stop for a minute. That just absolutely dumbfounds me.
The whole point of this deal is not to make any CO2
supposedly, so we are going to tax the nuclear power plant that doesn't
make any CO2. What's the logic of that?
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. One of my opening comments was the fact
that it is refreshing to be here debating real science versus political
science or science fiction. And here's the thing: The alternatives are
out there. Republicans have been working hard. We've got an energy
solutions group. We've been putting that out there. During the district
days, we were in Pittsburgh and Indiana and out in the West Coast, and
we were talking about a better solution for America. We've been hitting
on parts of it tonight.
I view that that solution would provide us an energy margin. You
know, what is it, 9 months ago where gas was pushing $4 or $5 a gallon?
And gas prices are going up now again, and yet we're furthering our
dependence on foreign oil. The President has shut off the tax
deductions for domestic drilling and shut down areas in this country
for domestic drilling, including through the Forest Service, an area in
my district, Allegheny National Forest, really slowed down to a
screeching halt new drilling.
And we could have an energy margin with the proposals put forward by
the Republican Party that will allow us to have the domestic energy
resources so that in the future when there's a hurricane, or where a
foreign country that we have been dependent on for our energy resources
decides to shut down that flow or some other catastrophic attack, we
actually have an energy margin where our energy prices remain stable.
And that's good for America. That's the type of energy policy Americans
I'm actually blessed here standing between two physicians. I'd like
to take the opportunity to call on their expertise--I worked in health
care myself in rehab for about 28 years, but not as a physician--to get
their diagnostic opinion on this. This is all in the name of green,
greening America, specifically solar and hydro, but in terms of the
economy, the other green that comes to mind is gangrene. And I just
would defer that, though, to my colleagues who are physicians to have a
better feel for that.
Mr. AKIN. Well, now you're really hurting me when you start to get
into that, but you know, that idea is that what you're doing is you're
doing something that makes the economy sicker. That doesn't seem to be
the thing that we want to do.
You know, the thing that strikes me, too, who is going to be paying
this big tax? It's going to be the guy that is using electricity, the
guy that's using natural gas, the guy that's buying food. Who is that?
Is that rich people? No. That's, as you say, those are average
Americans just trying to get along, barely got their lips above water,
economy's in trouble, they're wondering whether they're going to have a
job, they may have a kid home because the kid lost a job.
What are we talking about? We're talking about with this cap-and-tax,
this proposal that's been proposed by the Democrats, what we're talking
about here is every year you're going to have to come up with the
amount of money you spend on for the average family on meat, poultry,
fish, eggs, dairy, produce, juices and vegetables, that is how much
extra it's going to cost you. Or you want to put it in something else,
consider furniture, appliances, carpet, and other furnishings. That's
how much. All of these different categories here are smaller than what
this tax is going to cost the average family.
This isn't something that the President says, hey, $250,000, don't
worry, we're not going to tax you. This is taxing all of these
families, and that's why
we get excited about it, and it doesn't need to be done. The fact of
the matter is that we can have that energy independence just by using
I'm going to go to my friend from Louisiana. Congressman Scalise, if
you could join us.
Mr. SCALISE. Again, what we're talking about here is this is a
proposal that just passed out of committee 2 weeks ago, a very
detrimental proposal to our Nation's economy, a proposal that threatens
our energy security at a time when we've got proposals and solutions
that we've presented that actually would allow America to have energy
independence. So it is a true debate between the two parties where we
have very different views.
Their proposal is this cap-and-trade energy tax which, literally, to
that senior citizen who is on a fixed income--the President's own
budget director, President Obama's own budget director, said this
proposal, cap-and-trade energy tax, would add another $1,300 per year
to that fixed income senior citizen's electricity bill. Now, I don't
know how they're going to go explain that to people, that this is what
they're trying to do to them as we're talking about a summer coming up
where people want to run their air-conditioning to stay cool. They're
going to just tell those people to turn the air-conditioning off.
When people start wondering why we're not developing our own natural
resources, in my State of Louisiana and in Dr. Fleming's own district,
my colleague from Louisiana, the largest natural gas find in the
history of our country was found just 3 years ago in Haynesville,
enough natural gas to supply all of our country's natural gas needs for
And then in my colleague from Pennsylvania, Congressman Thompson's
district, another find, the Marselles find, which could be even bigger.
They're just discovering how big that find is, could be even bigger
than the Haynesville find.
We've got kinds of natural resources: oil, natural gas, clean coal,
not to mention the nuclear capability that Europe and other countries
have gone to in large proportions, that we are denying by policy, and
they're saying don't use our own natural resources, which then
increases dependence on Middle Eastern oil. We're trying to put up a
proposal here to say let's use our own natural resources, not send jobs
to China and India like cap-and-trade, not raise people's electricity
bills. We've got the ability to create our own energy independence and
secure our future while creating good jobs, and that's the true
difference right now between their cap-and-trade energy tax and our
American Energy Solutions Act, which is a very different approach to a
comprehensive energy national policy.
Mr. AKIN. Just reclaiming my time, I think you're being reasonable.
You're talking about there's a contrast, two different approaches to
solving where we're going with energy. And one of them is we're going
to use the instrument of a great big tax increase and a lot of
government regulations, and the other one is free enterprise.
What you're talking about is the fact that you're exploring. You're
talking about finding more natural gas. I don't know if people are
aware of it, but by things that have been passed on this congressional
floor, eighty-some percent of our continental shelves are off limits
for any exploration. What's the logic of that? I remember thinking the
reason that the liberals didn't like nuclear was because of the waste,
and yet we had a 100 percent vote in the Science Committee not to
recycle nuclear waste.
I appreciate your joining us tonight. I think these are things that
are of importance to Americans.
Thank you all. And thank you, Mr. Speaker.