Energy Bill Fails to Address Real Problems, Increases Corporate Welfare Giveaways
|November 25, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
Republicans Doing Exactly What Terrorists Want — Energy Bill Fails to Address Real Problems, Increases Corporate Welfare Giveaways
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
POWERED BY PORK For the past several weeks, Republican energy conference leaders have been keeping the massive energy bill concealed from the public’s prying eyes while they tenderized the final version of the bill. Late last week Sen. Peter Domenici (R-AZ) finally decided to let the rest of us have a glimpse of the details in this 1,700 page, $80 billion bill before it goes to vote sometime this week. [In a democracy, why was the energy bill kept secret? Why aren't politicians and citizens being given enough time to look at it prior to voting? Obviously, the bill's creators have something to hide. That is anti-American.]
One thousand seven hundred pages is longer than War and Peace, but we here at TCS didn’t have to read a single word in order to figure out that Congress is getting fed the Christmas ham a little early this year.
One of the most dubious provisions in the bill are tax incentives for a $20 billion natural gas pipeline to be built from Alaska to Chicago. Although the pipeline could instead be run through Canada at a much lower price and directed towards the lower 48 via existing infrastructure from there, what’s good for the federal purse isn’t always what’s good for a member of Congress’s district, and it looks like our friends from Alaska will get to have their pork and eat it too.
All of the subsidies and tax breaks in the bill gave many of Senator Domenici’s colleagues a mild case of trichinosis. A quick look at WebMD.com informs us that the best way to treat trichinosis is with Thiabendazole. Unfortunately, Senator Domenici has chosen a considerably more questionable way to deal with this pork-induced affliction: more pork. The final bill includes funding for dozens of frivolous pet projects that were added on in order to grease the palms of a few fence sitters.
A set of five development projects financed by tax-exempt bonds that could cost taxpayers $350 million over 10 years is one of the provisions that has held up the bill. Included among the five projects is a billion dollar shopping mall, to be built in Syracuse, New York at three times the cost of the Mall of America. Another, the Louisiana Riverwalk, is a $180 million urban renewal project to bring shops and restaurants to downtown Shreveport. Already confirmed for the Riverwalk is a Bass Pro store and Shreveport’s first ever Hooter’s restaurant. [Why is Hooters more important to Congress than reducing foreign oil imports?]
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is one of the biggest fans of these projects. He points to provisions that would require each of the projects to include nice environmentally friendly architectural and energy features as justification for the projects. [Hurray. That will have Osama bin Laden quaking in his boots.]
Next, we have the $800 million coal-gasification plant in Minnesota. Combine this with continued subsidies for the ethanol industry, another Minnesota friendly provision, and you may well have earned the support of Minnesota’s Sen. Norm Coleman, who told the Washington Post that “It would be very hard to walk away from an energy bill (with those [coal-gasification and ethanol] provisions), no matter what else was in it.” [An amazing admission of corruption. So who is calling on Coleman to resign?]
Because the bill negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors and the Senate vote could be scheduled as early as 11/16, Senators only has about 48 hours to read it over. At 1,700 pages, you would need to average 35.4 pages an hour, non-stop, if you wanted to read all the fine print. [Is this craven secrecy the way that America "stands tall and proud" against terrorism? We can do better.]
Coming on the heels of the 39-hour judge-athon, Senate staffers will need to make a lot of Starbucks trips if they want to stay awake throughout the reams of tedious legislative language. Taxpayers for Common Sense urges them to go home, get a good night’s sleep, and urge their bosses to take a pass on this pork-laden bill.
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
Federal energy policy has two major current goals — reduce US reliance on foreign oil imports, and address the power grid problems that brought on the major regional blackout earlier this year. Republican “leaders” have instead produced a huge bill that fails to address either of these priorities! All they seem to care about is more and more welfare. We need strong American leaders, not corrupt anti-Americans. Share your views with The Progress Report!