Congress Blog

Reckless Democratic energy policies are raising costs and hurting consumers

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

President Biden's radical policies have stymied America's energy independence and created a crisis. The national average price for a gallon of gas has climbed to its highest level since 2014 and is 66 percent higher than this time last year. Inflation is at a 13 year high, and in the past year-and-a half: retail gasoline prices have almost doubled, natural gas prices have almost tripled, electric rates continue to rise and propane prices - which are critical to many of my constituents - have jumped by 552 percent. And we haven't even seen the worst yet. Home heating costs are projected to rise by as much as 54 percent for some American households this winter.  

This is not a fluke, but rather, a deliberate consequence resulting from the disastrous policies and actions of the Biden administration. On his first day in office, President Biden destroyed 11,000 American jobs by canceling the Keystone Pipeline. He also paused new domestic oil and gas leases, which will cost 1 million American jobs and decrease GDP by $700 billion. These actions put America's energy security at risk, as U.S. oil imports from foreign sources are now expected to increase by 2 million barrels a day. In fact, through 2030, the U.S. is now expected to spend $500 billion more on energy from foreign suppliers. Instead of allowing American companies to increase domestic production and hire more U.S. workers, President Biden has embarrassed the U.S. by pleading with OPEC and Russia to increase global output to ease rising fuel prices. The catastrophic path this administration has set us on must be reversed now! America needs to once again be in the driver's seat when it comes to our energy production. Just one year ago when fuel prices were the lowest they'd been in years, we were a net exporter of energy. The greatest nation on the face of the earth should never have to rely on Saudi Arabia or other nations hostile to us. We can unleash American energy, create American jobs, and lower prices at the pump by implementing the pro-growth, common sense polices of the previous administration.

Instead of reversing course, Democrats in Congress are now doubling down on these crisis-causing strategies by pushing a multi-trillion dollar spending package, which includes a tax hike on fuel. The "Heat Your Home Tax" being advocated by congressional Democrats is a job-killing provision that could eliminate as many as 90,000 American jobs and increase Americans' heating bills by up to $242 per year. These plans would also authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to assess a $1,500 tax per ton of methane emissions on energy producers, processors, transmission, storage, import/export, and pipelines. Contrary to the president's promises that his legislation will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 per year, the Heat Your Home Tax will negatively impact all Americans. 

We all want to protect our environment, but doing so on the backs of American families and small businesses is the wrong approach. The Heat Your Home Tax and other provisions contained in this legislation won't achieve the goal of reducing worldwide emissions. Instead, America should be embracing an "all of the above" energy strategy that includes increasing domestic production, providing incentives for the development of renewable resources, and promoting conservation. New and emerging technologies will allow the United States to better harness the existing swath of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources that are available to achieve environmental goals without hurting consumers or disadvantaging American companies on the global stage. 

Rising energy prices help no one. But they do disproportionately hurt those who can least afford it. They are particularly devastating to low-and-middle class families, and seniors living on a fixed income. The decision that some seniors and families will face, having to determine if they can heat their homes in winter, due to President Biden's policies, is not one that Americans should endure in the greatest country on earth. The actions President Biden has taken and those being proposed by congressional Democrats will further jeopardize our nation's energy security and continue to hurt consumers. This is a self-made crisis hurting American families and it is time to stop the pain.

Gus Bilirakis represents Florida's 12th District.

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