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Committee Approves Key Bills to Protect Jobs, Prevent Higher Gas Prices, Stop Reckless Regulation

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), yesterday passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910) and H.J.Res. 37, a congressional resolution disapproving the Federal Communications Commission’s Internet rules. These bills are designed to rein in overreaching federal regulators by setting aside controversial Internet rules and stopping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from driving up energy prices and shipping U.S. jobs overseas.

“I applaud the committee’s approval of two important bills that will next be considered by the full House as we work to create jobs, keep energy costs from rising unnecessarily, and rein in the explosive expansion of government,” said Upton.  “We will not allow this administration to regulate what it had failed to legislate last Congress.  Today, we stand up for jobs and families as we fight a brazen government takeover of the Internet and overreaching EPA regulations that will send jobs overseas and increase gasoline and energy prices. With these bills, we are putting the brakes on a runaway federal government and restoring the principles of free enterprise and personal liberty.”

The bipartisan Energy Tax Prevention Act, which prevents the EPA from transforming the Clean Air Act into a vehicle to impose costly greenhouse gas regulations to address climate change, passed through committee by a bipartisan vote of 34 to 19. Unless Congress intervenes, the EPA’s efforts to impose a cap-and-trade agenda threaten to drive gas prices even higher, increase utility rates, send manufacturing jobs overseas, and hamstring our economic recovery.  The bill garnered the support of three of the panel’s Democrats.

Gasoline prices are already nearing $4.00/gallon and any further constraints on our domestic energy capacity or self-imposed increases on the costs of production will drive prices at the pump even higher.  Studies have estimated that previous legislative efforts to cap greenhouse gas emissions would drive up gas prices 19 cents by 2015 and 95 cents in 2050. Because EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations are designed to achieve similar goals as cap-and-trade legislation, and because such regulations would directly impact domestic refineries and production, the regulations are similarly expected to drive up the price of gasoline.

“I am pleased that the Committee voted to send this important piece of legislation to the full House for consideration, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in passing this bill with a strong, bipartisan vote,” said Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “This bill does not roll back the Clean Air Act in any way. Rather this bill stops EPA from imposing far-reaching and costly regulations without regard for their impact on the economy and jobs. Any decision of this magnitude deserves consideration by elected members of Congress and must not be ceded to unelected executive branch staff. This bill will help to preserve jobs and protect our ability to remain competitive in a global economy.”

The committee also approved H.J.Res 37, a resolution to overturn the FCC’s overreaching Internet rules, by a vote of 30 to 23.  Prior to the vote, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee heard from cable and Internet providers, economists, and even FCC commissioners, who expressed concern regarding the consequences the FCC’s rules would have on job creation, innovation, and investments.

“The Internet is open and thriving and creating jobs because of the hands-off approach the government has taken to date,” said Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “The resolution of disapproval will nullify the FCC’s launch of a government takeover of the Internet and restore certainty to the marketplace.”

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