GOP following through with 'Commitment to America'

GOP following through with 'Commitment to America'

GOP following through with 'Commitment to America'

A small business group says new legislation that aims to help lower energy costs makes economic and national security sense.

Regarding H.R. 1, or the Lower Energy Costs Act, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) told reporters at a recent press conference that it is "really important to families all across America who are struggling under the weight of President Biden's anti-American energy policies that have dramatically increased costs on families."

"Families right now are paying about 40% more at the pump when they fill up their cars; they're paying dramatically higher – double-digit increases higher – for their household electricity bills," he said. "Families are fed up, and Republicans are fed up with these failed policies by President Biden.

If passed, the Lower Energy Costs Act will, among other things:

  • Promote energy infrastructure and pipelines across international borders.
  • Repeal all restrictions on the import and export of natural gas.
  • Require the Interior Department to immediately resume quarterly lease sales on federal lands.
  • End the existing moratorium on new coal leasing.
  • Expedite the approval process for gathering lines on federal lands that capture or transport oil, natural gas, or related materials.
  • Prevent the Interior Secretary from stopping or slowing leasing and permitting activities on federal lands and waters that are open to energy and mineral development.
  • Incentivize domestic production by rolling back burdensome fees on oil and gas development from the "Inflation Reduction Act."

Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) has introduced the Senate companion to H.R. 1

"Energy production is the key to America's national security and economic success," Kennedy asserts. "Louisiana has always served our country by helping bring affordable, sustainable energy to market, and this bill would remove the burdensome, bureaucratic handcuffs that have been hurting the industry and millions of Americans."

According to Scalise, this is part of the "Commitment to America" that Republicans unveiled prior to the 2022 midterm elections.

"We're following through on this promise with a really important bill that combines about 20 different pieces of legislation from three different committees," he says. "Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce, and Transportation Committees have all been working hard putting together a package of bills that are focused on lowering energy costs, allowing us to make more things in America."

In addition to making more energy at home, the measure is meant to bring back critical minerals to America and decrease her reliance on countries like China.

"We also stand up to foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, [and] Russia," Scalise notes. "We shouldn't be getting our energy from any other country. We make it cleaner, at a lower cost than anywhere else in the world, and it produces great jobs in America. We should be doing more of it, and that's what the Lower Energy Costs Act is all about."

Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council likes what she sees.

Kerrigan, Karen (SBE Council) Kerrigan

Echoing the House majority leader, she points out that "the high cost of energy is impacting every small business across the United States," which is "very, very frustrating," given the fact that America has vast resources and the best technology for producing energy through clean and efficient methods.

"It's just a commonsense bill that we think is particularly necessary, given what is happening across the world with respect to instability and alarming geopolitical developments that really should be, we believe, making the Biden administration want to do more to produce more home-grown energy and to make America more self-reliant on our own energy needs," Kerrigan tells AFN.

She does not think it prudent for the U.S. to depend upon energy that comes from "unstable regimes, that comes from dictators, and also energy that happens to be developed in a non-environmentally friendly way."

So from an economic perspective and from a national security perspective, Kerrigan says lowering the cost of energy and doing more to be self-reliant in energy is "very much needed at this point in time."