WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I first want to commend Chairman Charlie Rangel and all of the Members of the Ways and Means Committee for their hard work on this very important, far-sighted legislation – the ‘Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act.’
“This week, the American people are paying, on average, $3.79 per gallon for gasoline. In some parts of the country, motorists are paying more than $4 per gallon – more than $2.50 per gallon more than they were paying when the current Administration took office.
“There is no doubt that this explosion in gasoline prices is squeezing hard-working families, who also are coping with the rising costs of food and groceries, health care, and education.
“This legislation is not a panacea to those immediate concerns, but it represents an important step in our continuing effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
“Among other things, the bill will establish a new tax credit of $1.01 per gallon for cellulosic bio-fuel production from now through 2015. It will extend the $1 per gallon bio-diesel tax credit, and makes it available to all potential sources of diesel that can be made without petroleum. And, it allows jet fuel produced from bio-mass to quality for the credit as well.
“Furthermore, this legislation will reduce our dependence on imported fuel for our electricity sector by extending and expanding tax incentives for sources of renewable energy, including wind, solar and bio-mass.
“It also will encourage the use of plug-in hybrid cars, and provide incentives for energy conservation in residential homes, commercial buildings and appliances.
“Additionally, this bill will help create hundreds of thousands of ‘green jobs.’
“It will spur American innovation and business investment – which will strengthen our economy today and in the future.
“And, it will provide tax relief for millions of Americans – expanding the child tax credit to the families of 13 million children, helping 4.5 million families better afford college through a tuition deduction, and saving 3.4 million teachers money with a deduction for classroom expenses.
“Now, many on the Republican side object to this bill because the Democratic Majority, in keeping with our commitment to fiscal responsibility and pay-as-you-go budget rules, insists that this legislation be paid for and not add to the national debt – which has increased by more than $3 trillion under the Bush Administration.
“To them I simply say: It is long past time that the Members here insist that our nation pay for the things it buys. History is littered with the stories of formerly great nations that began their demise through fiscal profligacy.
“It is within our power to ensure that the United States of America is never added to that list.
“The method by which Chairman Rangel and the Committee have paid for the costs of this bill is laudable. This legislation closes loopholes that allow corporations and executives to avoid U.S. taxes by shipping jobs and investments overseas.
“Mr. Speaker, this is an excellent bill that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our environment, create thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy, and provide tax relief to millions of hard-working Americans.
“I urge my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle: Vote for this fiscally responsible, far-sighted bill.”