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Posey Opposes Cap & Trade – National Energy Tax

Washington, June 26, 2009 - Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) provided the following statement as he prepared to vote against the Waxman-Markey “Cap & Trade” National Energy Tax legislation. At press time it was uncertain if the bill would proceed to a final up or down vote as Democrat leaders were lacking the votes among their members to secure passage of the bill. The 1500 page energy tax bill was amended at 3AM this morning with an additional 309 pages of legislation which has yet to be examined by Members of Congress. Below is Congressman Posey’s floor statement on the “Cap & Trade” National Energy Tax legislation to explain his vote:

“I rise to express my strong concerns about the bill before us – a bill which no one has read. This morning members of Congress were told about the addition of 309 pages that were added to this bill early this morning. No one has read it.

“Why the rush? Why does Congress have to pass this bill today, before everyone can read it and understand what this new language is doing? When Congress did this with the stimulus bill earlier this year it was discovered after passage of that bill that it contained bonus payments for AIG employees. But this bill, affecting every segment of our economy, has much broader applications we and the American people have a right to know what is in this bill, how it will affect the American people, and what impact it will have on our economy. Nobody knows that this morning. We do not even have a cost estimate on this latest version of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). No one knows what it will cost. My rule is that if you are not going to give Members of Congress the time to read the bill, a cost estimate of the bill, and an ability to understand its impact on the taxpayers and American businesses, I’m going to vote no.

“Supporters of the bill claim that it will only cost the average American $175 per year. This is a fatally flawed estimate for three reasons (1) this figure is derived from a selective reading of the CBO cost estimate, (2) 3 days after the CBO issued their cost estimate 300 additional pages were added to the bill, and (2) at 3am last night another 309 pages were added to the bill. This bill has grown by nearly 70% since CBO’s cost estimate was prepared.

“The CBO estimate has serious deficiencies. In fact if you read the entire CBO estimate you would find that they highlight the deficiencies, deficiencies that are being conveniently ignored. The most critical flaw is that CBO picked a year as the basis for their estimate that is before the most costly parts of the bill take effect. This excludes hundreds of billions of dollars from the cost estimate. The footnote on page 4 of the estimate says that they exclude from the costs estimate the “decrease in gross domestic product (GDP)” resulting from the bill. Most estimates conclude that it will result in $1 - $2 trillion in lost economic activity in the U.S. translating into a loss of over 2.5 million jobs. The CBO fails to incorporate tens of billions of increased costs to the states which will be passed on through higher state taxes. CBO lists a number of other cost estimate omissions.

“When you factor in the deficiencies of the CBO estimate most analyses put the cost estimate at between $750 and $3100 per year. Washington has a habit of underestimating the cost of legislation. They are doing so again today. That’s why this bill was significantly changed last night and rushed to the floor before Members of Congress have had a chance to read the bill and understand what the changes do.

“This 1200-plus page bill started out as legislation aimed at improving the environment but it has become a means of raising money to pay for larger, more intrusive government while having little impact on the global environment.

“The idea behind “Cap and Trade” is to purposely increase the cost of energy that is produced using fossil fuels like natural gas, coal or petroleum. Nearly 85% of electricity across the U.S. is generated using these sources of fuel. The price of everything you buy will go up, from gas to food, because there will be a hidden national energy tax built into the price of everything.

“Senator Cardin (D-MD) told the Washington Post that, "This is the greatest revenue generating [read tax] proposal of our time." This bill moves money from the family budget to Washington.

“Estimates are that this bill will have a negligible effect on the global environment. It is estimated that if enacted, this bill will lower the global temperature by a fraction of a degree, which is consistent with the annual fluctuation in global temperatures. Also, this fails to acknowledge the fact that China, India and the rest of the developing world are exempt from such regulations and their emissions will far exceed any reductions that result from this bill.

“This costly national energy tax will put American products at a competitive disadvantage and further erode the ability of the American worker to compete with China, India and the rest the developing world. The result will be the loss of millions of jobs as more businesses move to countries that will not impose these caps on their citizens. Businesses that otherwise might have built facilities in the U.S. will instead open up factories in countries that are exempt from these regulations. It's no wonder China has called for the U.S. to pass this energy tax bill. With a national unemployment rate nearing 10%, it’s estimated that this tax will cost Americans another 2.5 million jobs.

“I oppose this plan and will vote against it because it is not good for the American worker, small businesses, seniors on fixed incomes, or families struggling to pay their bills and mortgages. Washington doesn't need more of your money, it needs to control spending. Europe adopted a similar plan several years ago and it forced jobs to leave Europe, caused electricity prices to skyrocket, and they have little to show for the costs. It's all pain and no gain. Check out the non-partisan Tax Foundation’s online energy tax calculator (www.taxfoundation.org/capandtrade) to figure out how much it may cost you.

“Finally, it is a sad day for the Congress and the American people that the Speaker chose to rush this bill through the Congress without an open debate and amendment process. Members of Congress asked that 224 amendments be allowed to be considered to this bill. Unfortunately, the Speaker allowed only one amendment to be offered. Among the amendments denied were one to: (1) suspend the bill if gas exceeds $5 per gallon; (2) suspend the bill if electricity prices increase more than 10%; and (3) suspend the bill if unemployment exceeds 15%. These and many more amendments were reasonable and worthy of consideration. They should have been allowed as they are in the best interest of the American people.

“Again, I rise in strong opposition to this bill and urge my colleagues to vote down this bill. It will further harm our economy and slow our economic recovery.”

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