Mar 02 2011
10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Spending Doesn’t Equal Investment, Sessions Tells Obama’s Energy Secretary
“Just because you call something an ‘investment’ doesn’t make it so… The president’s plan worsens a desperate fiscal circumstance and fails to invest—by any honest measure—in our nation’s energy future. America has vast, proven energy reserves and yet the president continues to lock those away in the pursuit of a failed green jobs stimulus that has produced neither the promised energy nor the promised jobs. Instead, the president’s plan will produce increased spending, increased taxes, an increased reliance on foreign oil—and increased debt.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered an opening statement today at the hearing to consider the Department of Energy’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2012. Sessions stressed to Secretary Steven Chu the need for an energy policy that unlocks America’s energy reserves to lower prices and create jobs.
Sessions’ remarks, as prepared, follow:
“Secretary Chu, thank you for appearing before this committee today as we continue our discussion of the president’s budget. You are a man of great accomplishment and I have appreciated getting to know you, but you now hold the job of Secretary of Energy. Energy at an affordable price is essential for our economic future. It is not a theoretical or academic matter.
Right now we are in the midst of a growing fiscal crisis and it is crucially important that we have an honest conversation about the challenges we face.
President Obama and his budget director tell us that their budget plan doesn’t add to the debt, that we are living within our means. But the plain fact is the president’s budget doubles our gross national debt and never once produces an annual deficit less than $600 billion dollars over its 10 years.
The president’s Education Secretary told us yesterday that the Administration was making tough cuts and difficult choices to make the federal education programs leaner and more productive. But the president’s budget calls for another 11-percent spike in education funding, following a 68-percent increase over the last three years.
Perhaps the most consistent spin is the repeated claim that every cent of new government spending is an “investment” in our future. Just because you call something an “investment” doesn’t make it so, and certainly doesn’t make it a good investment.
If the Administration’s argument held true, then our nation would be thoroughly enriched by this year’s spending spree and $1.65 trillion dollar deficit. In reality, the most obvious result we’ve achieved with this massive surge in federal spending is a crushing debt burden that has grown the government at the expense of the private sector.
So while your energy budget increases spending substantially, I reject the idea that it is an investment in a better future. Instead of investing the taxpayer’s money, your plan would more likely waste it. We have magnificent energy resources in this country from which we can create thousands of jobs—without adding to the deficit—and yet these resources remain under lock and key.
These resources, if produced, would also bring in billions of dollars in royalty and tax revenues—rather than exporting our wealth. The American people expect fact-based budgeting that produces more energy, not locks it up. The simple fact is that the nearly 10-percent spending increase you have requested is not being used to produce large sources of low-cost American energy, but to chase after the vision of high-cost, unproven sources of energy.
As we contend with a sluggish economy and high unemployment, the plain truth is that the actions of this administration are needlessly making things worse. Gas prices are rising rapidly, some say to that dangerous level of $4 per gallon. Yet the Interior Secretary issued only one single deepwater drilling permit this year—and only after being found in contempt of court for keeping a moratorium on drilling. Such high gas prices exact a painful toll on American families and have historically done significant damage to the economy.
The refusal to drill domestically has cost tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenue to the federal treasury. Offshore drilling rigs are leaving for foreign shores and taking jobs with them. This Administration has, in the past two years, revoked oil and gas leases in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, and has shuttered production in the Gulf of Mexico. Permits to mine for coal in West Virginia and have been withdrawn and permitting delays have occurred elsewhere with little or no explanation. The failure of your Department to advance clean, reasonably priced, nuclear power has hurt our nation. We must move forward with nuclear power.
An estimated 40 percent of our nation’s uranium deposits in Arizona were unilaterally locked up two years ago, leaving us to import 90 percent of the uranium we use from foreign sources. And green jobs programs, subsidized by over-burdened taxpayers, have never lived up to the promises of those pushing them.
Indeed, the much ballyhooed, state-subsidized solar panel plant in Massachusetts failed in January, cutting 800 jobs. It had received $58 million from the state. The $535 million loan that the U.S. government made to Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer, seems to be failing already.
A recent study by Bjørn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center demonstrates that the higher prices and job losses resulting from green energy policies significantly outweigh any job creation. The costs of renewable energy are higher than standard forms of energy, so when they are mandated it means more economic inefficiency, higher manufacturing costs, and less disposable income for Americans.
In summary, Dr. Chu, the president’s plan worsens a desperate fiscal circumstance and fails to invest—by any honest measure—in our nation’s energy future. America has vast, proven energy reserves and yet the president continues to lock those away in the pursuit of a failed green jobs stimulus that has produced neither the promised energy nor the promised jobs. Instead, the president’s plan will produce increased spending, increased taxes, an increased reliance on foreign oil—and increased debt.
This plan is a non-starter. We need to replace it with a plan that actually does invest in our future by unlocking the vast energy resources that belong to the American people, keeping dollars and jobs in America—making us stronger, not weaker.”
Note: To view a video of Sessions’ remarks, please click here.