Weekly Columns

Relieving the Pain at the Pump

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Washington, March 7, 2012 | comments

The price at the pump has soared to $3.79 a gallon nationally, and more than $4 in many areas. Fears of another economic slowdown are prevalent because of high gas prices. Hardworking families in Tennessee and across the country are struggling to pay rising costs.  Congress needs to pass common sense energy policies that move us in the direction of lower gas prices and energy independence.

If we want to create jobs in America and move our country toward energy security, Congress should pass energy policies such as the Keystone XL pipeline.  The pipeline, supported by both employers and unions, will create manufacturing and construction jobs, while increasing energy security across the country. TransCanada estimates that 20,000 well-paying jobs will be created in 2012 should this project move forward. In addition, the project will provide an estimated $5.2 billion in tax revenue to the Keystone XL corridor states. Construction of the pipeline will also act as an economic engine in the private sector by generating additional private sector investment in food, lodging, fuel, vehicles, equipment, construction and services.

Unfortunately, the president has been blocking the pipeline project because of some objections from environmentalists. In doing this, the president is blocking the creation of thousands of jobs in this country.  I believe it is important to find common ground because passing this provision is too important to ignore. After waiting more than three years for this pipeline while the country faces prolonged unemployment, the president’s inaction on a project that can quickly create jobs is nonsensical.

As a member of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), I am focused on promoting energy policies that will make America more secure and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil. HEAT members are working to make sure Congress enacts long-term energy policies that over time will lower the price at the pump.

In an effort to solve the energy crisis in America, I am also a member of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) Energy Working Group. The RSC introduced and the House passed H.R. 1777, the Consumer Relief for Pain at the Pump Act. H.R. 1777 will increase the supply of North American energy and lessen regulatory burdens, mandates, and prohibitions that unnecessarily increase the price of gasoline. Even though the legislation passed in the House, the Senate failed to take action on H.R 1777.

We need an “all-of-the-above” energy policy to ease the pain at the pump. That is why I teamed up with my colleagues for these energy initiatives, and it’s why I am voting for legislation to lower energy costs.  This is what will put us on the path to energy independence.

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