REPUBLICANS’ PHONY “ENERGY WEEK” FIZZLES

Democrats Offer Substitute that Addresses Most Pressing Needs

For Immediate Release:

June 15, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the three energy bills considered on the House Floor today and the two energy bills that are expected to be considered on Wednesday:

“When it comes to the important issue of America’s energy needs, House Republicans seem to suffer from a collective blackout.  This nation needs a comprehensive energy plan that prevents future electricity blackouts like the one that affected 50 million Americans in the Northeast last summer, prevents market manipulation that was common practice in the Enron Corporation, and reduces gasoline prices for motorists and small businesses.

“Yet, the Republican leadership is forcing another vote on legislation (the “Energy Policy Act,” H.R. 4503) that weakens environmental protections, repeals consumer protections, provides unnecessary liability protections, and provides nearly $30 billion in tax breaks for energy producers.  This legislation passed the House last year, but has run into a bipartisan wall of opposition in the Senate.  It is going nowhere fast.  House Republican leaders know that, but they continue to pretend to legislate in an effort to score political points.

“Make no mistake, this Republican legislation does nothing to deal with current gasoline prices, natural gas supply problems, investment in electricity infrastructure or independence from foreign oil.  In sharp contrast, Democrats attempted to offer a substitute to H.R. 4503 that addresses the three most pressing energy problems facing our nation – fraud in electricity markets, blackouts and high gasoline prices.

“If the House Majority were serious about legislating, rather than scoring political points, it would immediately take up the good measures in this bill – reliability standards, renewable energy, conservation and energy efficiency – which would enjoy wide bipartisan support.”

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