By Rep. John Boehner
If there’s one thing the American people should demand of their elected representatives, it’s that’s we should know what’s in bills before we vote on them. In February, the U.S. House passed a 1,100-page “stimulus” bill that was supposed to create 3.5 million jobs and keep unemployment no higher than 8 percent. Since that bill was signed into law, we’ve lost 1.6 million jobs and unemployment nationwide is now 9.4 percent. The so-called stimulus has been a disaster in Ohio where our unemployment is a record-breaking 10.8 percent.
The House late on Friday, June 26, passed Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax – a more than 1,500 page bill that included 300 pages added to it fewer than 24 hours before the final vote. No one – not one single lawmaker – had read that entire bill before voting on it. So I did something unprecedented. I read portions of those 300 pages to the American people. By tradition, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader have the right to talk for as long as they like on the Floor. I used my prerogative as the Minority Leader to read to the American people parts of a bill that will raise their taxes, send American jobs overseas and punish hard-working, middle-class families with higher energy costs.
I had hoped that lawmakers would understand that this new national energy tax on middle class families would further punish people who are struggling to make ends meet. But in the end, political pressure from Speaker Pelosi and former Vice President Al Gore proved to be too much.
What’s missing from this bill is what America needs right now: jobs. Of the six counties that make up the 8th Congressional District, not one has an unemployment rate lower than 9 percent; in fact, four have double-digital unemployment. Preble County sits at a staggering 12.3 percent unemployment, double what it was this time last year.
So where are the jobs? Because at the moment, they’re not in Ohio. The city of Dayton, which has a 12.6 percent unemployment rate, just lost its last Fortune 500 company when NCR decided to relocate the bulk of its operations to Georgia.
But where are the jobs? Our economy is hemorrhaging jobs at a frightening pace and middle class Americans are suffering. Legislation like Speaker Pelosi’s massive national energy tax that she rammed through the U.S. House will only punish hard-working families even more. Every family who has the audacity to turn on their TV, flip on a light-switch and put gas in their car will pay more for it. Family farmers, whose energy costs account for 60 percent of their spending, are going to see their fuel costs, especially diesel, skyrockets while their incomes plummet.
Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax is a job-killer. It will punish responsible American families with crushing taxes that will suffocate our economy. It creates a slew of new government programs to take and redistribute trillions of dollars away from our families overseen by a tangled web of government agencies that will ultimately answer to the Environmental Protection Agency.
While government bureaucrats squabble over how best to regulate our lives, other countries are moving ahead with innovations and technologies that are propelling their economies in front of ours’. And while American manufacturing companies and energy-intensive industries shutter their doors, foreign nations that don’t impose punitive taxes will roll out the welcome mat. The next time you wonder where the jobs are, take a look at China, India and other countries that refuse failed policies like the cap-and-trade scheme that makes up Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax – that’s where our jobs have gone.