Friday, April 28, 2006

Ford: Cut The 18.4 Cent Federal Gas Tax For At Least 30 Days

Tennesseans shouldn't pay for Congress' and President Bush's inaction, nor should they line the pockets of oil company executives

Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. is once again urging congressional leaders to pass a 30-day suspension of the 18.4 cent/gallon federal gas tax. Ford made the following statement earlier today:

"While President Bush and the Republican leadership in Washington dither on what to do about gas prices as high as $4 for some Americans, I believe a 30 day suspension of the 18.4 cent/gallon federal gasoline tax should be adopted. This temporary relief would provide much needed relief for the working man and woman in Memphis and our state.

"After the first 30 day suspension, we would assess whether it should be extended. The fact that this country, more than four and a half years after we were attacked, has no real energy plan to get us off Middle East oil is inexcusable. In the meantime, I believe temporary relief for Tennesseans is better than nothing, especially as we learn that oil company CEOs are pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars while we are all left to pay more than $3 a gallon. We can pay for this tax suspension with a temporary windfall tax on oil companies.

"The long term answer is to invest in the clean development and safe use of bio-diesel, wind, solar, coal and nuclear energy to fuel the enormous energy appetite of our country. We need a new energy policy for America that rewards energy efficiency through innovation and conservation.

“In the meantime, Congress should also pass legislation to do three things. First, we should provide incentives for automakers to deploy technology to dramatically increase mile per gallon standards, commonly called CAFE standards, in their new cars and trucks. Second, we should enact more aggressive tax credits for renewable sources of energy and provide tax breaks for companies in Oak Ridge and the East Tennessee Technology Corridor to develop technology that will reduce our dependence on Middle East oil. Third, we should promote technology that will allow farmers to convert crops like soybeans, corn and Tennessee switchgrass into alternative sources of energy.

“The President should stop blaming President Clinton for problems, and start fixing them. Tennesseans and the American people have had enough of the blame game. They want answers, and, most of all in the short term, lower gas prices."

Following the sudden spike in gas prices after Hurricane Katrina Congressman Ford was an original co-sponsor of the “Gas Tax Relief Act of 2005” (H.R. 3683). Under the bill, funding for state highways will not be reduced so states will not have to increase taxes.

According to Tennessee law, if the elimination or reduction in the federal gas tax results in reduced funding to Tennessee from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, then the state gas tax will be automatically increased to off-set the decrease in funding. H.R. 3683 includes a provision preempting state law and preventing states from increasing their state gas tax as a result of the suspension of the federal gas tax. In addition, the bill specifically appropriates funds out of the general fund to offset the funding shortfall to the Federal Highway Trust Fund that would have been caused by the suspension of the federal gas tax.

Comments: Once again Congressman Ford is seeking real solutions to real problems that face Tennesseans everyday, all the while his opponents sit back and do nothing but bicker and issue attacks.

Related: Read about Harold Ford Jr. and energy independence here!

114 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!