Republicans introduced in both the House and the Senate yesterday a bill entitled the No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009. This breathtakingly simple energy stimulus bill introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) would accelerate offshore on the Outer Continental Shelf and in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and force the government to streamline the environmental and regulatory burdens that could otherwise block energy development for years.
At a press conference yesterday, Vitter and Bishop explained that this bill would be a literal “threefer”: it creates tens of thousands of jobs, helps reduce dependency on foreign oil and gives America time to develop other sources of inexpensive energy. Vitter said, “We need to continue to work to stimulate the economy, but we can’t continue to borrow huge amounts of money to do it. So this is an energy plan, both traditional and renewable energy, that can create significant jobs, significant economic growth, without costing the U.S. taxpayer one cent and without having to borrow more money.”
He explained, “First, we significantly expand OCS leasing and energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf. Second, we go into an initiate ANWR leasing, energy production in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Doing these things not only doesn’t cost taxpayers dollars, it creates significant new federal revenue. What we do with a lot of that federal revenue is to create a clean and renewable energy trust fund dedicated to clean, renewable energy programs. The impact of that fund and that amount of federal spending in those areas is more significant than in the stimulus bill on the clean and renewable side. Just on the clean and renewable energy side, we have more positive impact in terms of those programs which already exist than the stimulus bill recently passed. The other major part of the bill is regulatory streamlining to again allow domestic energy production to move forward. That’s the basic idea of the bill.”
There is a constant and deliberately deceptive drone by Democrats to the media that Republicans are the party of “no” and “no ideas.” Yet Republicans at every turn have offered free-market solutions to counter the Democrat-induced sub-prime mortgage debacle, exacerbated by the Democrat Fannie & Freddie protection racket that initiated the economy’s plunge into meltdown. Never wanting to waste a good crisis, the Democrats choose to spend this nation into a big-government stupor while saying “no” to every free market solution Republicans have offered.
Stimulus Two, The Sequel
The spending binges passed by the Democrat majority, all shepherded and signed into law by President Obama, don’t seem to be working out too well for the markets, the banks or the average American. Nothing speaks more loudly to the failure of their massive $1.2 trillion spending “stimulus” bill than the fact that Democrats are already talking about the need for Stimulus Two.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference yesterday held a rare, informal “pen and pad” joint media availability with his Senate counterpart, Senate Republican Conference chairman Lamar Alexander. When asked by HUMAN EVENTS about the stimulus, Pence said, “We believe that the stimulus bill was nothing more than a wish list of tired old liberal spending priorities that had been lying around gathering dust in Washington, D.C. for a long time. I think that the fact that Democrats are already talking about Stimulus Two suggests that Democratic leadership has apparently concluded that their stimulus bill has already failed and that’s fairly remarkable after only a couple of weeks.”
It has been widely reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is considering a second stimulus bill and that the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, David Obey (D-Wis.) has already begun writing it. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) yesterday spoke about this disturbing news.
“Just three weeks after President Obama signed his ‘stimulus’ bill into law, Congressional Democrats are already conceding that it will fail to achieve its objective,” Cantor said. “As the Speaker knows, the only reason to craft a second stimulus bill would be if the first one failed. Every Republican in the House voted against the first stimulus bill because we believed that Congress could do better, and we had a plan to achieve that goal. America does not need another massive spending bill, what we need is to create jobs.”
House Republicans Defeat Federal Land Grab, For Now
Pelosi tried to ram through the House yesterday under suspension of the rules the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, legislation that would have changed the definition of federal land and would have locked up vast amounts of domestic natural gas and oil, forcing more energy imports and eliminating the high-paying jobs that go along with domestic energy production.
I spoke with Andrew Moylan, Director of Government Affairs at the National Taxpayers Union (www.ntu.org), the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots taxpayer group, with 362,000 members nationwide. NTU sent a letter to House members about this legislation yesterday informing them that the vote on this bill would be “significantly weighted” in their annual rating of Congress.
“Despite spending more than $1.2 trillion over just the last few weeks, this bill would heap on an additional $6.4 billion, including $900 million in brand new entitlements,” Moylan said. “Perhaps more importantly, it would place under lock and key millions of acres of land, preventing the kind of energy exploration that Americans resoundingly support.”
Pelosi brought the bill up under suspension to strip or disallow amendments that she did not want as part of the bill, including Second Amendment protections. Under suspension, no floor amendments are allowed unless the Speaker desires to include them. There is a single vote on suspension of the rules and passage of the bill and a two-thirds majority vote of the members present, and voting is required, a quorum being present. If a suspension motion fails to receive the required two-thirds vote, the House can consider the bill in question again, usually under regular procedures that require only a simple majority vote for it to pass.
Attention Senate Republicans, please pay strict attention here: The bill failed to reach the two-thirds majority by a vote of 282-144. Three Democrats voted with 141 Republicans and the far-left, enviro-whacko federal land grab bill was defeated by 2 votes.
House Republican leader John Boehner, after the vote said, “Middle-class families are struggling as costs of living soar and their job security weakens. The legislation Democrats attempted to force through the House today would have made matters even worse by blocking environmentally-safe energy production, increasing gasoline and other energy costs, and costing American jobs we cannot afford to lose.”