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Pelosi: Energy Bill Will Be 'Shot Heard 'Round the World' for Energy Independence for America

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the floor this afternoon voicing her support for the Energy Independence and Security Act.  It passed the House floor with a vote of 235 to 181.  Below are the Speaker's remarks:

'My colleagues, this is a very important day for our country.  A day in which this Congress can declare itself a Congress for the future.  A Congress for America's children.  Earlier today, some of you saw me reference this baseball, signed by Bobby Thomson.  'The Shot Heard 'Round the World,' October 3, 1951, an historic day in baseball.  When he signed this baseball, he referenced a phrase used by Ralph Waldo Emerson, referencing the shot fired at Concord, which began the American Revolution, the fight for American independence.  If Bobby Thomson could reference a 'shot heard 'round the world,' we should indeed be able to do it today. 

'This vote on this legislation will be a shot heard 'round the world for energy independence for America.  And I want to thank some of the people who made this possible.  As many of you know, at the beginning of this Congress, our chairs of the appropriate committees were tasked to prepare legislation to be ready to be introduced by the 4th of July, our Independence Day.  They did so and on June 30, in preparation for July 4, that weekend, we introduced our legislation. 

'I want to begin by thanking Mr. Dingell for his exceptional leadership as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  This is about America's national security.  Mr. Dingell has always been about that.  He has dedicated his life, starting in World War II, in his public service for our country. Thank you, Mr. Dingell.  Another great veteran in this arena, Mr. Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War, is an important part of this legislation with the pay fors from the Ways and Means Committee.  Thank you, Mr. Rangel.  Earlier you heard from Mr. Oberstar and the important work he's doing at the greening of America's federal buildings and many other sources.  Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.  Mr. Waxman of the Oversight and Government Reform, Mr. Miller of the Education and Labor Committee, we're having our green jobs initiative, Mr. Rahall from Natural Resources, making an important contribution to this legislation, Mr. Lantos of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gordon, from Science and Technology Committee, has been central to this legislation.  Mr. Peterson from the Agriculture Committee.  America's farmers will fuel America's independence.  We will send our energy dollars to the Midwest not the Middle East.  Congresswoman Velasquez from Small Business, small businesses will be the incubator of this new economy.  Thank you Chairwoman Velazquez and Congressman Markey of the Select Committee, thank you also for your tremendous leadership for over 30 years on this issue.     

'I mention all my colleagues, these chairmen, not only to salute them, but to say they started a process over a series of months, where practically every member of these 11 committees of Congress had an opportunity, Democrats and Republicans alike, to weigh in on the initial legislation which was introduced in time for the Fourth of July, as promised, and was passed by this Congress in the first week of August.  And it is the follow up on that legislation that we are voting on today. 

'This is about our national security, it's about jobs and the economic security of our country, it's about the environment, therefore it's a health issue, and it's a moral issue.  That's why we have scientists and evangelicals.  We have business and labor.  We have the environmental community all strongly supporting this legislation.  And here are some of the reasons why.  I'll give you their words. 

'Over 20 generals have signed a letter saying that we have to move in this direction in terms of reversing global warming.  But specifically, the other day, we heard from Vice Admiral Denny McGinn, and he said this: 'Our dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to Americans.  Your vote for tough fuel economy standards is a vote for increasing our safety and well-being.'  This is a national security issue. 

'It's an issue that relates to our environment and therefore the health of our children.  That's why the Pew Charitable Trusts Campaign for Fuel Efficiency wrote: 'If the House and Senate finally approve this deal and the President signs it, they will all have done more for consumers at the pump than any Congress or Administration since the 1970s.'

'They were referencing also the fact that consumers will save $700 to $1,000 as a result of this bill per year.  And over a period of time until 2020, they will save $22 billion.  That's why the Consumer Federation of America is supporting this bill. 

'It's about American jobs.  The President of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wrote: 'We believe this tough, national fuel economy bill will be good for both consumers and energy security. We support its passage.'  I could submit to the record a long list of representatives of the business community who are supporting this legislation.

'The Legislative Director of the UAW wrote: 'We believe that this historic measure will provide substantial energy security and environmental benefits to our nation, while protecting and expanding jobs for American workers.'  The list goes on.

'The national security, jobs, the environment and health of our children and the future of this planet as well as the consumer benefits. 

'It's an historic day because it's been so long since we have come to a place where we are, as has been said, over 30 years since we have addressed this issue in this substantial way in the Congress of the United States.  The point of this is, 'Are we about the past or are we about the future?'  I hope that we can have strong bipartisan support for this legislation.  We were able to accomplish in this 12-month period, as Mr. Emanuel said, what was not done in 32 years in the Congress of United States. 

'So my friends, I ask you to think about this and take great pride when you cast a yes vote.  Many of you are far away from your legacy, but when that day comes, I hope you will consider this day a part of that legacy when you made history in the Congress of the United States.  And not only did you make history, you made progress for the American people. 

'They are watching to see what we do.  This legislation is as immediate to them as the price at the pump they face when they fill up their tanks.  This is as immediate to them as they are heating their homes.  It's as global as preserving this planet, and if you believe, as I think all of us do, that this is God's creation, then we have a moral responsibility to preserve it.  That's why we have strong support from the religious community, including the evangelical community.  I hope you will take this act in faith today to make history and to make progress for the American people, especially to declare this the children's Congress. 

'Thank you, my colleagues.  I urge a yes vote.'