|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 4.15.13
Monday, April 15, 2013 â€“
Six years have passed since tragedy struck the Hokie Nation, and thirty two lives were tragically taken from us, and others were seriously injured. As we reflect, we remember these beautiful souls and pray for comfort for the loved ones of those lost, those injured, the Virginia Tech community, and the Town of Blacksburg.
A hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, April 12 focused on legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to submit to Congress a cost analysis before finalizing any rule or regulation estimated to cost at least $1 billion. After EPA submits the cost analysis to Congress, an independent analysis is made by the Administrationâ€™s Department of Energy (DOE).
But wait â€“ thereâ€™s more! In order to stop a regulation, DOE must consult with other executive agencies â€“ the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration.
If enacted, the bill would bring to light this EPAâ€™s assault on industry, particularly the energy industries. This bill would make clearer proposed rulesâ€™ impact on gasoline, electricity, and other energy prices, and also provide information regarding any potential job losses.
While discussing the legislation at this hearing, Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) â€“ chief author of Cap and Trade â€“ said â€śthis is an unprecedented intrusion on the authority of the EPA.â€ť Mr. Waxman went on to say, â€śimagine applying this billâ€™s premise to everyday decisions. â€¦â€ť
You read that right. Mr. Waxman is trying to argue that spending $1 billion is similar to an everyday decision. I donâ€™t know anybody in our part of Virginia who would think that a $1 billion decision is an everyday decision.
The last year I served in the Virginia General Assembly, 2010, the entire Virginia budget was less than $40 billion. I can assure you that to the Virginia government, a $1 billion decision is not an everyday decision.
The people elected us to be responsible and to include checks and balances in the system. When a check on the $1 billion level has become â€śunreasonable,â€ť itâ€™s clear why we have a debt and deficit problem in Washington.
Is it really unreasonable to alert Congress to regulations which cost $1 billion or greater? Particularly when another department of the Administration gets to do an independent analysis as well? Is it really unreasonable when there is a $1 billion cost after an analysis by EPA and DOE in consultation with an additional group of Administration branch agencies who have determined â€śsignificant adverse effects to the economy?
I donâ€™t think so, but Mr. Waxman does. This is a significant problem, not only in coal, gas, and oil country, but across the Ninth District, Virginia, and the United States.
Under this EPA, energy prices are stubbornly high. Accordingly, the cost of living continues to rise, making it increasingly difficult for many to make ends meet, especially for the elderly and the poor. When I once asked her about rising heating bills, then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson responded along the lines of â€śthere are programs to help those people.â€ť â€¦ See below.
President Obama recently released his budget, and lo and behold, he took action on a program that Administrator Jackson by implication was referencing. That program is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps families with high energy costs. However, LIHEAP is a program that the President proposes cutting in his budget plan.
President Obama and his Administration are pushing through policies that raise your energy costs while suggesting that programs like LIHEAP be cut. I believe that the Presidentâ€™s plan includes many cuts he never intends to happen. It is my opinion that his budget, which was nine weeks late, was put forward to increase spending and taxes, and many of the cuts he proposed were just part of a smokescreen to hide his true objectives.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson
The Library of Congress, in honor of the 270th anniversary of Thomas Jeffersonâ€™s birth, recently permitted people to view some items from their large collection of original Jefferson documents. Among the documents on display was Jeffersonâ€™s Manual of Parliamentary Practice, which contains notes hand-written by Jefferson himself. I used a copy of Jeffersonâ€™s Manual extensively while serving in the Virginia House of Delegates, and I use it in Congress as well. But my copy does not include those notes. Being a student of history I deeply appreciated the opportunity to view these documents, particularly the Manual of Parliamentary Practice which continues as a guide to me to this very day.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at