'I thank the Gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Dingell, the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, for his kind words and for his tremendous leadership.
'Because of his leadership and that of 10 other members, the chairs of committees of jurisdiction working in a bipartisan way, we were able to bring earth-shattering change in terms of energy policy to the floor of the house.
'Here we are today to pass a bill that passed in the Senate, 88 to 6. Very strong bipartisan support for this legislation. Today in the House, we have the opportunity to give that same kind of validation and legitimacy to a New Direction for Energy Security for America.
'It's about our national security. Admiral McGinn said that our dependence on foreign oil presents a clear and present danger to our country.
'It is a matter of our national economy. Congresswoman Velazquez, Chair of the Small Business Committee, and Congressman George Miller, with the 'Green Jobs' initiatives, can show a new way to build a new economy involving many more people in the new technologies that will be unleashed because of this legislation.
'It's about protecting our environment. Chairman Rahall and his Natural Resources Committee provide a great leadership, as did the Chair of the Government Reform Committee, Mr. Waxman, who has long been a supporter of energy security and energy independence. The list goes on. Mr. Oberstar, Greening of the Capitol and the federal buildings across the country and what that will save and many more initiatives that he has presented.
'The Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee provided a way to pay for it. That was rejected in the Senate, but we will revisit that issue in a manner that I think will receive strong bipartisan support. The Chairman of our Select Committee, Mr. Markey, did an excellent job in keeping this issue alive, as he has worked on it for many years. Mr. Bart Gordon, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, is really in the forefront. So much of this bill comes out of his committee.
'Mr. Speaker, the work that was done by the distinguished Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Dingell, is breaking ground. It is groundbreaking in terms of what it will do in savings to the consumer. What it is doing in terms of protecting the environment and again, in what it is doing to provide a new direction. And it does so in a way that breaks ground, but does not leave it broken. It takes us to a new place, and I thank him for that leadership. It's a tremendous addition to this legislation.
'In the United States Senate, two of the major provisions, renewable fuel portfolio and the CAFE, were leadership issues and I'm glad we were able to reconcile the differences between the House and the Senate with the leadership of Mr. Dingell.
'I think of us as being in a place where we're looking at the horizon. This legislation takes us closer to that horizon. But as with all horizons, they keep getting farther away. But reaching for it takes us to a whole new world. And that's what this legislation does.
'My colleagues in this chamber, you are present at a moment of change, of real change. Of rejecting the past, respecting the values of the past, but rejecting the insistence that we stay in the past and going into the future. This is about a choice between yesterday and tomorrow.
'It is a national security issue; it is an economic issue; it is an environmental issue; and therefore a health issue; it is an energy issue; and it is an moral issue.
'It's a moral issue and that's why we worked closely with the evangelical and faith-based communities, with scientists and faith-based, with business and environmentalists, with our friends in labor who support this legislation to preserve God's beautiful legacy to us. It is His gift to us and we have a moral responsibility to preserve it.
'We have to think about our consumers every single day. That's who we represent; they are our bosses, and to protect their well-being is our mission. This legislation alone will save the average driver between $700 and $1,000 per year. It adds up to $22 billion in net annual consumer savings in the year 2020. In order to reduce the price at the pump, the increasing of the fuel efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon is historic. It's the first time in 32 years that this has happened.
'So whether we're thinking as consumers and very personally about what this means in the lives of our constituents as they see their energy costs go up at the pump or in heating their homes at this Christmas season, or we're thinking of our national defense and national economy, this is as personal as each and every one of our consumers. It is as global as the planet and the opportunity provided to take us to a new horizon, to see a new world, a new era of possibilities is here with us today.
'This great opportunity for us would have been possible without the leadership of so many of our Chairmen, including Chairman Obey. As I salute our Chairmen for their intellect, institutional memory, legislative know-how that they brought to this process, I also want to give a special thank you to our freshmen class. They came to this Congress to make change. They know how essential protecting our planet is. They know the concerns of their constituents, they are fresh out of the trenches dealing with them. Without that freshmen class, if I may call them freshmen, we would not have had the success that we have had today.
'So this has been a collaboration on both sides of the isle, from our most senior Members to our newest Members of Congress to invigorate and encourage us to make the change that we are making today. I am absolutely delighted about it. I can't wait until we join with the President of the United States when he signs this legislation into law and takes a step forward into the future.'