Hoyer Calls for Congress to Address Critical Legislation, Not Partisan Energy Bills

For Immediate Release:

June 20, 2012

Contact:

Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today about Republican plans to vote on partisan energy bills instead of addressing critical legislation.  Below are his remarks and a link to the video:  

Click here to watch the video.

“I am pleased to follow my friend, the distinguished Majority Leader, Mr. Cantor. I'm going to have some remarks, but before I get to those remarks, I want to give you some statistics that I know you'll find very interesting, and I want you to take them to heart.

“The Energy Information Administration reports that energy production from federal lands and waters was higher the first three years of the Obama Administration than the last three years of President Bush's Administration. In addition, oil imports are at the lowest they have been since 1997. In 2011, U.S. crude oil production reached its highest level in eight years, increasing by an estimated 110,000 barrels per day over 2010 levels to 5.59 million barrels per day. We now produce more than 50% of the crude oil we use domestically. The U.S., by the way has 1,977 rigs in operation. The rest of the world has 1,471. America has 1,971 rigs in operation. The rest of the world, 1,471. [note: Mr. Hoyer misspoke, America has 1,977 rigs in operation, the rest of the world has 1,473 rigs in operation.]

“U.S. natural gas production is record breaking. In 2011, 28 1/2 million cubic feet. In 1973, which was the previous record, it was 24 million cubic feet. But hear this: in 2005 during the Bush Administration, it was five million less. Net imports [of natural gas] as a share of total consumption has declined from 2005, where it was 60% in the Bush Administration, to 2011, where it is 47%.

“The Administration has announced that 2012-2017 leasing plan will open up more than 75% of our offshore oil and gas resources. U.S. production from federal lands onshore has surpassed the Bush Administration. In 2005, it was 649 million barrels. In 2010, 739 million barrels, otherwise known as almost 100 more million barrels. Ladies and gentlemen, we understand that we need to produce and use energy in America.

“Mr. Speaker, we should be working, however, together to find real solutions to meet our pressing challenges. We ought to pass the long-term highway bill to create thousands of construction jobs. We ought to address the looming deadline when student loan interest rates are set to go up on July 1. We ought to get to work on taxes so we can keep low rates in place for middle-class families and ought to get serious about comprehensive deficit debt reduction before we find ourselves on the edge of a fiscal cliff this year.

“Instead, Mr. Speaker, once again, we have a solution looking for a problem. Our Republican friends have called up two bills on the floor this week that make this very clear. While gas prices have thankfully retreated, the bill would have an extreme, drill-only strategy that won't lower gasoline prices. That bill is notable for what it doesn't do, invest in energy resources that create jobs and enhance energy security – nor does it make our nation a global leader in energy technology.

“The second bill we considered yesterday would impose a radical policy on our border areas that would undermine security and bring polluting industries to historic parks, even though our border enforcement officials said it wasn't necessary.

“We didn't work on student loans, on transportation, but a piece of legislation that they said wasn't necessary. These are not what Congress ought to be focusing on this week or next week. Let's turn our attention to our most pressing issues: student loans, construction jobs, keeping middle-class taxes low, and reducing deficits instead of wasting the American people's time on partisan bills that won't solve any of our real problems.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m hopeful that, either in the next 24 hours or in the next nine days, we will, in fact, pass a jobs bill that will create jobs, and everybody knows that. That's the highway bill. The Senate's passed the highway bill in a bipartisan fashion with half of the Republicans in the United States Senate voting for it. And the very conservative Republican Ranking Member and a very liberal Chairwoman Barbara Boxer came together and had the ability to compromise and come to agreement. I tell my friends on the Republican side, that's what the American people want us to do.

“If we do that, it will raise the confidence of our people, of our business community, of our country. And that will be the best thing we can do for our country: come together in a bipartisan fashion as the United States Senate did and act.” 

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