The Democratic-controlled government is at a pivotal point with the Climate Bill, H.R. 2454, and the Sunlight Foundation is pointing criticism at legislators for rushing a bill few have probably even read. The administration has already taken over lending and auto manufacturing. Soon healthcare will likely be in the hands of the government. And now energy will be manipulated, dictated and overseen by government.
Noting the bill expanded to 1,201 pages (from 946) over the weekend, a press advisory issued by Sunlight said, “This legislative maneuvering reminds us of the failure of Congress to make bills properly available before consideration.” The Foundation website has an analysis of what can only be described as an insane process for passing a bill that will impact every aspect of our lives. For instance, the bill available on THOMAS, the venue for public disclosure, apparently isn’t the full bill.
In a statement released Wednesday, Sunlight Foundation Engagement Director Jake Brewer said, "The fastest speed-readers and the most intelligent minds can't make informed decisions with that much time. How can Congress?" He continued, "The problem here is the bill wasn't developed in the open in a committee, so no one--including those members of Congress not on the Energy Committee-knows how this latest version was created."
Congress hired a speed reader to work through the bill. Have you ever voted to elect a speed reader to Congress? Doesn’t this process create a vacuum? If a speed reader synopsizes content, is there room for subjectivity? Doesn’t hiring a speed reader raise serious questions about the constitutionality of a bill many members have apparently not had time to read? Does the American taxpayer deserve a final copy of the actual bill before it’s passed?
Thursday morning, Energy and Commerce committee member Rick Boucher (D-Va.) was on C-SPAN, acting as pitchman for the Dems’ new energy policy. He repeatedly stated the cost of the legislation to consumers (“typical American families”) would range from $77 to $111. A caller asked about projections for costs and taxes that are far greater than the amount Boucher cited. He responded he didn’t know where the caller was getting her figures.
Boucher could have checked out The Tax Foundation, an organization I regularly praise (and donate to, although I don’t know a single soul there personally.)
The Tax Foundation has been around since 1937. They’ve done the job your government should’ve done. There’s a calculator on the website where you can input figures to see a projected cost to you personally if Cap and Trade passes. TTF said, “The calculator is based upon a study released in March, Tax Foundation Working Paper No. 6, ‘Who Pays for Climate Policy? New Estimates of the Household Burden and Economic Impact of a U.S. Cap-and-Trade System.’ The study shows that a cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent would place an annual burden of $144.8 billion on American households. The average annual household burden would be $1,218, which would be approximately 2% of the average household income.”
The Congressional Budget Office blog said the legislation will provide energy tax credits or energy rebates to certain low-income families to offset the impact of higher energy-related prices from the cap-and-trade programs. So if you’re not in the lower income quintile, there’s no protection for you.
If the cost is only $77-111 as Boucher repeatedly said, why would anyone need a credit? That’s not a lot of money spread over a 12 month period. Can you read between the lines? Leave out the ‘n’ in ‘lines’ and you’ll get the idea.
The Sunlight Foundation wants a resolution passed requiring the House of Representatives to post all non-emergency legislation online 72 hours before debate begins. The SF website has a link to a form that once completed will return a phone number where you can call your representative to urge passage of H. Res. 554. That is one phone call we all should make, regardless of political persuasion.
Once the government controls energy, what’s next? Lemonade stands I guess. Think about this next time you cast a vote for congressmen like Boucher. He's in his 14th term.