House Passes Punitive Cap-And-Tax Bill

Press Release

Date: June 26, 2009
Location: Washington, DC


Wisconsin's 1st District Congressman Paul Ryan today spoke out on behalf of the families and small businesses that would be on the receiving end of a massive new energy tax. Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, by a vote of 219 to 212, with bipartisan opposition. Ryan voted against this legislation.

The center of the deeply flawed H.R. 2454 is a cap-and-trade scheme aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy costs on all Americans. The complicated cap-and-trade program would require all energy producers to purchase expensive government permits in exchange for the right to produce energy from certain natural resources or to produce certain goods like steel, aluminum, or cement. Without regard for the detrimental economic consequences, the proponents of the legislation believe this unilateral energy tax would help reduce global temperatures by a fraction of a degree by the end of the century.

Ryan's vote against the 1,200 page bill came after only three hours of general debate, with Majority rejecting the single amendment they allowed. In addition to the job losses that would result from the smaller economy, Ryan raised concerns with the impact on the budgets of individual households. Families would face increasing costs on not only energy - but all products that require energy to make them (i.e., everything). Various nonpartisan studies have estimated that average annual household cost increases would range from $425 per household to over $4000 per household. Specifically, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimate that Wisconsin families will pay an extra $230 million in energy tax once the bill is fully implemented in 2012.

Congressman Ryan fought against this draconian energy tax and supports H.R. 2828, the American Energy Innovation Act, a commonsense alternative to promote a cleaner environment without causing further economic devastation in the middle of a painful recession.

Following today's action of the House floor, Congressman Ryan issued the following statement:

"Today's vote reminds me of just how distant and out of touch Washington is from Wisconsin. At a time when jobs are increasingly scarce across Southern Wisconsin, Congress passed legislation explicitly designed to shrink our economy and increase energy costs on all Americans. Wisconsin is one of the nation's top manufacturing States. Wisconsin entrepreneurs, small businesses, and workers shouldn't need permission from the federal government to produce, grow, and create jobs, yet that is exactly the paternalistic message sent by Congress today.

"The Majority added a 300 page amendment to the 1100 page bill at 3:09am this morning which effectively regulates the national energy sector (8% of the U.S. economy), and no member of Congress has even read it. This bill is the biggest federal power grab of the American economy this year and that's quite a statement."

"Should this bill become law, Wisconsin would suffer a disproportionate economic blow. As the legislation's authors and chief advocate reside far from the Midwest, the cap-and-trade legislation wasn't primarily concerned with cold-weather, manufacturing States that get most of their energy from coal. Families in Southern Wisconsin don't have the luxury of turning off the heat in the winter.

"What's worse, because we are imposing this energy tax unilaterally, the legislation will actually hinder the environmental goals we've set out to achieve. By making manufacturing more expensive here in America, this bill would send our manufacturing jobs overseas to our competitors like India and China. For every ton of emissions we reduce, India and China will produce several tons more. Under this bill, we will send our competitors American jobs while they are negating the minimal environmental gains made here at home.

"There is a better way forward. I was proud to support a substitute energy reform - the American Energy Act - on House floor today, which focused on an all-of-the-above approach to creating a cleaner environment and a stronger economy. Rather than lock-up domestic energy supply, we should expand our use of American-made resources as we encourage the use of renewable and alternative energy sources, including nuclear, wind, solar, and more. Environmental stewardship and economic growth are not mutually exclusive goals, and I will continue to fight for both of behalf of those I serve in Southern Wisconsin."