Peterson Drilling Proposal is Misguided

Rep. Peterson just doesn’t get it. We can’t drill our way to energy independence. Peterson’s amendment will reverse a long standing Congressional moratorium that has always enjoyed strong bi-partisan, bi-cameral support. This Congressional moratorium has effectively protected coastal areas from new oil and gas drilling on the West Coast, the entire East Coast, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico for 25 years.

Last year I successfully led the effort to protect the bipartisan moratorium on new offshore drilling by defeating Rep. Peterson's attempts to remove the protections from the Fiscal Year 2006 Interior Appropriations bill. Earlier this year I sent a letter, cosigned by 114 of my House colleagues, to the Appropriations Committee urging them to maintain these protections against off shore oil and gas drilling. It’s a shame that the Appropriations Committee is wasting time pursuing another failed energy policy that won’t solve our nation’s energy needs and has been repeatedly and resoundingly been rejected by the House and the American public.

Unfortunately, Rep. Peterson’s renewed proposal to allow new oil and gas drilling off of our economically and environmentally priceless coastline is as misguided as it was last year. So called "gas only" drilling has been dismissed by the Administration and even the oil industry as a fool’s errand that is risky and not appealing to producers. To be perfectly clear drilling for gas means drilling for oil. To pretend otherwise is just folly. I will fight this terrible proposal and work with my colleagues to continue to protect the ban on new oil and gas drilling off of our coasts.


A Step Towards Domestic Gas Production

Congress took an important first step yesterday toward fixing an energy supply problem it created more than a generation ago. With the Appropriations Committee going on record in support of safe natural gas production, the burden has now shifted onto those who oppose the safe production of domestic natural gas to explain to the American people why this country should continue to lock up vast reserves of energy while home-grown industries and the American consumer class continue to pay the highest prices in the world.

I look forward to leading that debate on the House floor. I don't believe it's an overstatement to suggest the future of the American economy may be riding on it.


GOP Imposing Drug Tax on Seniors

House Republicans are prepared to go along with the Bush administration and begin financially penalizing millions of American seniors who don't choose a drug plan by May 15th.

Imagine that----we still have millions of seniors surviving on fixed incomes, often making such desperate decisions between medicine and food. And now, House Republicans are prepared to add to that financial burden by instituting a tax they will be forced to pay every month for the rest of their lives.

If this Congress does not step in this week, more than five million seniors will face a Bush prescription drug tax when they finally decide to sign up for a drug plan after the May 15th deadline.

What is so magical about May 15th? The Bush administration made numerous mistakes during the first months of implementation that made choosing the right plan even more burdensome. Those mistakes have not yet been corrected. A GAO report released last week shows that 60-percent of the information from 1-800-MEDICARE or from the Medicare website is still incorrect. Why wouldn't the president and his Congressional friends want to help confused seniors out by giving them seven more months to pick the plan that is best for them?



FEMA Out Of Homeland Security Is Not the Answer

Simply moving FEMA out of the Department of Homeland Security won’t solve its problems.

We’ve done our homework on this and with the input of local authorities and first-responders, it’s clear that putting preparedness back with response, as we do in our bill, will greatly enhance the federal government’s ability to respond to any crisis.


U.S. Relations with China, Both Partnernship and Rivalry

Today our committee held a fascinating hearing on U.S.-China policy featuring Under Secretary Robert Zoellick, the top expert on the topic at the State Department, who has recently done excellent and heartfelt work to help bring peace to the Darfur region of Sudan.

In order to get the conversation rolling, the hearing was titled, "A Resurgent China: Responsible Stakeholder or Robust Rival." To my mind, this presents a false dichotomy. Nearly three decades after we normalized relations, it is self-evident that China is both.


Dems Objections To Kavanaugh Flimsy at Best

Here we are again. Very little has changed since Mr. Kavanaugh’s first hearing two years ago. The objections to his nomination still proceed as follows. First, he lacks the proper experience. In the alternative, he’s got the wrong kind of experience. And, mixed up somewhere in there, he’s represented the wrong clients. As yesterday's hearings demonstrated, each of these objections is flimsy at best.

Incentives For Energy Innovation

The bill's rapid movement through the House, and that it passed with 416 votes, shows that momentum is gathering toward a national commitment to the hydrogen economy. This is no science project, it will give prizes for those who will bring us closer to having hydrogen as a usable energy source. A hydrogen future is closer than we think.


FEMA Should Remain Within the Deparment of Homeland Security

After seeing the destruction of last year's hurricanes and daily dialogue with our nation's first responders and emergency managers, we have come up with a real remedy to heal this ailing agency. The legislation that I, along with other House members are introducing, would equip FEMA with the right tools, resources, guidance and leadership it needs to deal with any disaster our country may face. Whether we call the agency charged with emergency preparedness and response FEMA or something else, the Senate's report echoes our urgent call to strengthen disaster preparedness and response within the Department.


Heartbreak and Heroes

On all of my five trips to our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I insisted on seeing the heroes before we go home...the injured soldiers at our medical center in Germany. As soon as any soldiers injured or ill can be safely moved, they are transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. It is very common to meet soldiers, many who were manning a gun turret yesterday, resting in a hospital bed at Landstuhl today.


Congressional Bribery, Administration Lies Highlight Medicare Vote

The vote on the Republican prescription drug bill in the House of Representatives was held open for nearly three hours; Republicans attempted to bribe one of their own Members on the House floor; and the Administration lied to Members of Congress about the bill's true cost. Borne out of the culture of corruption, the prescription drug plan is jam-packed full of giveaways to big business pharmaceutical companies and managed care firms, but does not have fundamental provisions that would protect Americans. When seniors telephoned the call centers run by the Bush Administration to ask which Medicare prescription drug plan would save them the most money, they were given the wrong answer 60% of the time. American families deserve a benefit that doesn't complicate their lives, but does more to lower costs and confusion.