As summer and peak driving season approach, hardworking Americans are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing gas prices - now averaging $3.99 per gallon across the country. The New Direction Congress is committed to bringing real relief to those feeling the pinch from high gas and diesel prices and ensuring the needs of families and businesses are put before the interests of Big Oil companies. We will continue to work to develop other innovative legislation that addresses high energy costs and our shift to a more energy efficient economy.
To that end, we are taking bold steps to put this country on the road to energy independence - to strengthen our national security, lower energy costs, grow the economy and create new jobs and reduce global warming.
Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans are still pushing the failed “drill and veto” energy policies of the past and trying to stall America's transition from dependence on foreign oil to a cleaner, greener and more energy efficient 21st Century. Despite the Republican rhetoric, more drilling for oil is neither a short-term solution for high energy prices facing American families nor a step in the right direction for achieving energy independence.
THE SHORTFALLS OF REPUBLICAN “DRILL & VETO” ENERGY POLICY:
- Since 2000, drilling on land has increased dramatically - climbing about 66 percent- while gas prices continue to increase.
- The Department of Energy has concluded that opening up the Arctic for drilling would reduce the price of a gallon of gasoline by about 1 penny - 20 years from now - nothing that will help consumers today. [EIA, 2005]
- The federal government has already opened up plenty of land and issued plenty of permits for drilling. Oil and gas companies hold leases to 68 million acres of federal land that are NOT currently under production.
In the 110th Congress, Congressional Republicans continue to vote against legislation that would directly benefit the American people:
- 82% voted against repealing billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies for Big Oil [H.R. 6, 1/18/07]
- 82% voted against investing in renewable energy resources to break our dependence on foreign oil [H.R. 6049, 5/21/08]
- 71% voted against cracking down on price gouging [H.R. 1252, 5/23/07]
- 44% voted against holding OPEC and oil companies accountable for price fixing [H.R. 6074, 5/20/08]
NEW DIRECTION CONGRESS - Taking Steps for a Cleaner, Greener & More Energy Efficient Future for America
PASSED THIS SPRING
- Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act - Congress has enacted legislation to suspend the fill of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, starting June 30th and through the end of the year, as long as the price of crude oil remains above $75 per barrel. This is a critical first step for hardworking families, businesses and the economy, which in the past has brought gas prices down. The President, who was previously opposed, suspended shipments and signed the bill because of overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. 25 Republicans - or 13 percent - voted against this legislation.
- Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act -This legislation will extend and expand tax incentives for renewable energy, retain and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs, spur American innovation and business investment, and cut taxes for millions of Americans. These provisions are critical to creating and preserving hundreds of thousands of good-paying green collar American jobs. A recent study showed that allowing the renewable energy incentives to expire would lead to about 116,000 jobs being lost in the wind and solar industries alone through the end of 2009. 159 Republicans voted against this legislation.
- The OPEC and Big Oil companies accountability bill - This bill will combat record gas prices by authorizing lawsuits against oil cartel members for oil price fixing, and creating a an Antitrust Task Force to crack down on oil companies engaged in anticompetitive behavior or market manipulation. 84 Republicans voted against this legislation. President Bush has threatened to veto this bill.
OTHER RECENT ACTION
- Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007 - Historic energy legislation with provisions to combat oil market manipulation, increase fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 - the first congressional increase in more than three decades, and promote the use of more affordable American biofuels.96 Republicans voted against this legislation. Signed into law on December 19, 2007. Under new requirements in the Energy Independence Law and pressure from Congress, the FTC announced in May it would begin the rulemaking process to implement the market manipulation provision.
- Reduces our dependence on foreign oil - cutting our consumption of oil by 2.9 million gallons per year in 2030 - more than what we currently import from all Persian Gulf countries. combined.
- Lowers energy costs for consumers with oil prices projected to decline from more than $100 per barrel to $57 per barrel in 2016 (in 2006 dollars) in part due to the new energy law.
- The new fuel standard for cars and truck will save American families $700 to $1,000 per year at the pump.
- Reduces global warming emissions by 2030 by up to 24 percent of what the U.S needs to do to help save the planet.
- Building, appliance, and lighting efficiency standards will save consumers $400 billion through 2030.
- Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act - This legislation would end unnecessary subsidies to Big Oil companies, invest in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and help reduce global warming. The bill includes provisions that will generate hundreds of thousands of green jobs including an estimated 70,000 solar energy jobs, more than 20,000 biodiesel jobs, and protect an additional 75,000 wind industry jobs. 174 Republicans voted against this legislation. President Bush has threatened to veto this bill.
- Energy Price Gouging Prevention Act - This bill will provide immediate relief to consumers by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy. It will ensure the federal government has the tools it needs to adequately respond to energy emergencies and prohibit price gouging - with a priority on refineries and big oil companies. 140 Republicans voted against this bill. President Bush has threatened to veto this bill.
- No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - Legislation to enable the Department of Justice to take legal action against foreign nations for participating in oil cartels that drive up oil prices globally and in the United States. 67 Republicans voted against this bill. President Bush has threatened to veto this bill.
- Energy Market Manipulation Prevention - The new Farm Bill increases Commodity Futures Trading Commission oversight authority to detect and prevent manipulation of energy prices. President Bush vetoed this bill, but the Congress has overridden that veto despite the 94 Republicans who voted against the override.