When House Speaker Pelosi abruptly and literally turned off the lights in Congress on August 1st and sent the members on a five-week vacation, she thought she was doing something clever.
C-SPAN can only broadcast Congress while Congress is in session. If there was no session, there would be no cameras to cover the debate over providing relief to American families from historically high gas prices.
If there were no C-SPAN, Americans would never get to see the Speaker and the anti-energy left’s stubborn refusal to lift the ban on offshore drilling, refusal to lift the ban on drilling in ANWR, and refusal to lift the ban on oil shale development.
If there were no C-SPAN, thought the Speaker, there would be no debate.
But last week, C-SPAN – with the help of some pro-energy Representatives – made sure they were still America’s eyes and ears to the debate.
The House Energy Revolt and the Revenge
As I told you last week, a determined group of pro-energy leaders are defying Speaker Pelosi’s gag order and staying in Washington. They are staging a revolt on the floor of the House of Representatives – away from the cameras – demanding that Congress return to Washington to provide energy price relief to the American people by allowing the development of more American energy now. (You can see Newt.org’s coverage here)
On Wednesday, I met with these leaders to deliver a message of encouragement from the nearly one and a half million Americans who have signed the “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” petition.
Afterward I held a press conference with pro-energy Representatives. And even though it’s banned from covering the speeches on the floor of the House during recess, C-SPAN brought its cameras to a press conference in the Capitol.
Telling the story that the mainstream media has studiously tried to ignore, C-SPAN captured the depth and breadth of support among Americans for developing more American sources of energy – and the outrageous, and ultimately futile, attempt by no-energy liberals to stifle the debate.
Are the Democrats Too Far Left For George McGovern?
The refusal of the House leadership to provide energy relief to working Americans is just one example of being out of touch with the vast majority of Americans on a critical issue.
Last Friday, liberal Democrat and former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern provided another.
In a remarkable op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, McGovern made clear that his party has gone too far to the left with the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” (EFCA) – legislation that would strip union workers of the right to a secret ballot. McGovern argued that the bill, which has the strong support of the Democratic leadership and is supported by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, is a betrayal of Democratic ideals in an attempt to appease big labor.
“To my friends supporting EFCA I say this,” wrote McGovern. “We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election.”
Read the whole op-ed here.
As I argue in my report on the progress of the Platform of the American People below, this is just one more example of elite politicians being out of step with the vast majority of the American people. Now, about those so-called superdelegates. George? Oh well.
American Energy Yes, Taxes No
But even as some members of the House stand heroically for energy price relief, for reasons beyond my understanding, a group of Republicans in the Senate has signed on to an $85 billion tax increase disguised as an energy bill.
Last week a “Gang of 10” from the Senate – including Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson – announced a “sweeping” energy bill that raises taxes but does little to develop more American energy.
The fact is, if we aggressively pursue new sources of energy, we do not need a tax increase of any kind.
The combination of the following would provide significant new revenues to the federal budget without raising taxes a penny:
- New revenue from licensing exploration
- New royalties from new discoveries (worth billions to federal and state governments over the next 20 years)
- The additional tax revenue from American jobs and American corporate profits from keeping some of the $700 billion a year we currently send overseas here at home
- The additional tax revenue from increased profits as lower energy costs enable American companies to be more profitable
- The savings to the U.S. government as the largest purchaser of energy from bringing down energy prices through more available domestic energy
Tell your senators to oppose the Gang of Ten tax increase. And if your senator is one of the co-sponsors, ask them to take their name off the bill.
The government has already done enough to raise gas prices. The last thing we need is to pay more taxes.
Coming Soon: “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” – the Book and the Movie
The message that House Republicans and I are trying to get across is that drilling is just the first step – the critical first step, but just the first step – in solving our energy crisis.
Callista and I spent part of last week investigating American sources of energy as part of two big projects to promote more American energy now.
The first is a book, Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis. It’s due out September 20 but can be pre-ordered here
The second is a movie based on the book. It’s entitled, appropriately enough, “We Have the Power.”
It is scheduled for release on September 27, American Solutions’ second annual Solutions Day.
That day, in addition to having workshops across the country that address energy and other national challenges, participants can take part in screenings of “We Have the Power” as part of Solutions Day events. For information on how you can participate, just click here.
Something We All Agree On: Paper Kills
I want to end on a note of bipartisanship today, and it’s also an issue I care about very much.
Today, the use of information technology flourishes almost everywhere, with few exceptions. Tragically, one of those exceptions is healthcare. Even in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama are in full agreement that we must modernize our system with IT. Take paper-based prescriptions – which kill too many and cost too much.
We know from experience that electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) improves patient safety by avoiding drug allergies and preventing medication errors-while saving money by increasing the use of generic drugs and avoiding duplicative prescriptions. To read the complete op-ed I co-authored with Senator John Kerry (D-MA), visit San Jose Mercury News.
Learn more about how we at the Center for Health Transformation, and our member companies, are promoting e-prescribing throughout the country.
P.S. — While I have disagreed at various times with Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain, there should be no doubt about the utmost respect I have for his high character and his lifetime of service to our nation. In my appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal last week, I recounted one story from my early days serving with then Congressman McCain in the House of Representatives when I learned firsthand what it was like to have John McCain looking out for you. Watch it here.
P.P.S. — In case you missed them, I recently wrote two articles that might be of interest. The first, co-written by Barry Casselman, proposes an idea to make the upcoming presidential debates more interesting and informative. And the second proposes seven prizes that would do more to improve our quality of life than seven government programs ever could.
P.P.P.S. — I’ll be at Google Headquarters tomorrow on a learning trip and while I’m there, Steve Grove from YouTube’s “CitizenTube” channel will be interviewing me. You can submit questions for him to ask here.