The U.S. Capitol building on Feb. 28, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
The House of Representatives passes a bill, 225–204, on March 30 that seeks to lower energy costs for Americans.
Four Democrats voted in favor of the measure.
The bill, introduced by House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), would, among other things, increase U.S. energy production, reduce regulatory burdens, repeal the natural gas tax, increase the production and processing of critical minerals, streamline energy infrastructure and exports, and reform permitting. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said the measure is a “partisan, dead-on-arrival and unserious proposal for addressing America’s energy needs that they have laughingly labeled H.R. 1.”
In a statement, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) explained the necessity for the bill.
“The Biden administration has kneecapped American energy production, and endlessly delayed critical infrastructure projects. Democrats’ misguided policies increased costs for every American and jeopardized our national security—and they’ve made the rest of the world more reliant on dirtier energy from Russia and China,” he said.
“To lower costs for Americans and grow our economy, we need to get the federal government out of the way. The Lower Energy Costs Act will fast-track American energy production, and includes comprehensive permitting reforms that will speed construction for everything from pipelines to transmission to water infrastructure. And it ensures that the critical minerals needed for advanced technologies come from America—not China.”
Ahead of the vote, Scalise touted that the American energy industry has “the best standards in the world,” whereas Chinese energy is dirty. He also blasted Biden for canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline, which he did on his first day in office on Jan. 20, 2021, while waiving sanctions on NordStream 2, a pipeline that goes between Russia and Germany. Biden sanctioned the pipeline following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Scalise also slammed Biden for trying to get oil from authoritarian regimes, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, while hamstringing U.S. oil.
However, Democrats have blasted the bill, going as far as to call it the “Polluters Over People Act.”
“The ‘Polluters Over People Act’ would be disastrous for our national deficit, ballooning it by $2.4 billion over the next ten years, to pad the pockets of corporate polluters, who are, as you have heard, already enjoying record-breaking profits,” Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.) said on March 28.
“H.R. 1 is Republicans’ flagship legislation, and it blatantly disregards the financial interests, health, and well-being of American families while rewarding polluters with shameless giveaways.”
The bill comes amid high gas prices. Currently, gas prices nationwide on average are almost $3.49, according to AAA. In 2022, gas prices more than doubled from the previous year, when Biden took office.
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