Monday, May 01, 2006

Harold Ford Jr. Fighting For Relief At The Pump; His Opponents, Not So Much

Last week, in an effort to provide families relief at the pump, Congressman Harold Ford Jr. came out in support of a 30 day suspension of the federal gas tax.

In a release Ford said, "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."

That is only a short term solution to our nation's oil problem, Ford points out. "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," he added.

Ford continued, “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."

For those concerned that a moritoriam on the gas tax would take away from much needed funds for highway projects and would cause a spike in taxes, the Congressman's press release explained the situation in saying:

"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."

Clearly, Congressman Ford understands the crisis that our nation currently finds itself in.

He not only is proposing a short term solution that will provide working families with much needed relief at the pump, but he is also working towards making our nation energy independent, which put our nation on a path to success long term.

On the other hand, his Republican opponents for the U.S. Senate are doing nothing. They can issue press release after press release arguing about fundraising or touting straw polls, but when it comes to helping out those whose votes they are seeking in this election, they are missing in action.

There is only one candidate in this race that is actually acting like a true U.S. Senate candidate and that is Harold Ford Jr. From day one of his campaign, he has been 100% focused on the issues that are most pressing to Tennessee and our nation.

His main concern in this race is to help all Tennesseans get ahead in life and his campaign reflects that.

Tennesseans are looking for a change with their next U.S. Senator. Harold Ford Jr. is represents a 360 degrees change from Bill Frist and the Republican candidates in this race.

He also represents hope for a majority of Tennesseans who feel their voice is not being heard.

This is just another reason why Harold Ford Jr. should be our next U.S. Senator.

Comments: In the past few days I have learned that the average price of a gallon of gas in America minus taxes is around $ 1.45.

If one is to do the math, that would mean that taxes on gas represent about 30% of the total product price each time you fill up your tank.

To put that into perspective, imagine if you had to pay a 30% tax on everything you bought!

My point is--this proposal Congressman Ford is putting forth of of suspending the gas tax for 30 days, would mean real relief for working families all across our state and nation.

Lets hope the Republican majority decides to put aside their partisanship and work to do what is right in this situation.

More: Read Harold Ford Jr's energy plan here!

117 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!