Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Editorial: Harold Ford Jr. Understands The Energy Crisis

This week I have been talking about how Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is at the forefront of the fight to make our nation energy independent.

He has made the issue a focal point both in his work in Congress as well as on the campaign trail.

The Congressman understands that we can't continue to fund both sides of the war on terror with this lethal addiction of ours.

The Nashville City Paper has taken notice of Ford's dedication to the issue in the following editorial:

Tennessee's U.S. Senate candidates met last week for a roundtable discussion before local business leaders, and touched on a variety of topics that are important to the future of the country.

Immigration and deficit spending on Congress were at the top of their list, but the most important issue facing America today is not being discussed enough on the campaign trail by all of our Senate candidates.

America's energy problem should be at the forefront of every discussion and debate involving this race.

To their credit, two of the candidates in the Senate field have spoken loud and long about the future of our country's energy policy.

Former Congressman Van Hilleary, a Republican, and Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr. have demonstrated some understanding of the global energy picture.

Both men see the stress being put on global energy markets by the wildfire growth in China and India, and they have been talking about the trend publicly for some time.

What Tennesseans should demand from the entire Senate field are real answers and a plan to solve America's energy problems, which presently are bordering on being a real crisis.

As a U.S. Senator, one of the four candidates in the race will be in a unique position to impact our nation's energy policy.

I agree wholeheartedly with the bolded area above.

Congressman Ford has put forth real answers to this looming crisis. It is time his opponents do the same.

Comments: The writer of this editorial was incorrect on one point. Van Hilleary is wrong on energy independence.

His record clearly shows that:

  • Van favors ending the federal ethanol subsidy: "Rep. Van Hilleary, a Spring City Republican, favors a gas tax cut and offsetting lost revenues by ending the federal subsidy for ethanol, a fuel using grain alcohol, which his staff said costs taxpayers $1.8 billion a year." -- Knoxville News-Sentinel, 05/12/96

  • Van voted to cut funding for hydrogen research and development by $ 5 million: “Barrett, D-Wis., amendment to reduce the appropriation for energy supply, research and development activities by $5 million, in order to reduce funding for hydrogen research and development to $10 million from $15 million." -- Amendment to HR 1905, 07/11/95, Failed 182-243

  • Van voted against an amendment that would increase funding for renewable energy programs by $42.1 million: “Schaefer, R-Colo., amendment to add $42.1 million for renewable energy programs, shifting $11.9 million from other energy research programs while using $30.2 million from reductions previously approved by amendment.” -- Amendment to HR 3816, 07/25/96, Vote #358, Adopted 279-135

  • Van voted against increasing funds for some conservation and energy efficiency programs: “Fiscal 1999 Interior Appropriations - Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs Funding, Skaggs, D-Colo., amendment to increase funding for certain energy efficiency and conservation programs.” -- Amendment to HR 4193, 07/21/98

  • Van voted to do away with much needed funding for the Energy Department's 'partnership for a new generation of vehicles program': “Sununu, R-H.H., amendment that would eliminate funding for the Energy Department's partnership for a new generation of vehicles program. A portion of the savings would go to the federal treasury and the remainder would be split between the payment in lieu of taxes program for states and localities and the maintenance accounts of the Forest Service and the National Park Service.” -- Amendment to HR 4578, 06/14/00, Passed 214-211

As you can see, Van is no friend to the energy independence movement.

112 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!