GOP Members of Congress Unveil ‘No Cost Stimulus’ Bill

Daily News Article   —   Posted on March 13, 2009

(by Edwin Mora, CNSNews.com) – [Six] conservative Republicans – three from the House and [three] from the Senate — have introduced a “common sense” economic stimulus package that includes energy proposals they say will boost the economy without adding to the national debt.

The “no-cost stimulus plan” calls for expanding offshore oil and gas production and leasing the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas producers, which in turn would generate new federal revenue.

“This is an energy plan involving both traditional and renewable energy that can create significant jobs, significant economic growth without costing the U.S taxpayer one cent and without having to borrow more money,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said during a Capitol Hill news conference.

The plan also would allow commercial leasing of oil shale as long as there is a profitable interest, expedite the nuclear plant licensing process and prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act as “ammo” to enforce carbon dioxide regulations.

If adopted, Vitter said the plan would provide “well over 2 million long-term sustainable and well-paying jobs,” and would “dramatically increase GDP” — by approximately $8.2 trillion over the next 30 years – in addition to reducing the cost of energy.

Best of all, the Louisiana senator pointed out, the stimulus would create those jobs at no cost to taxpayers.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), said the GOP plan is also a step closer to the U.S. adopting a “sound energy policy.”

U.S. manufacturers, businesses and families — including low-income families — would all benefit from low energy cost courtesy of the no-cost legislation, he added.

“The no-cost stimulus bill is actually a way of having your cake and eating it too,” Fleming said. “It’s green, it’s environmentally friendly, and it’s funded by the very extraction of the fossil fuels that will be provided.”

The new revenue would be used to create an Alternative Renewable Energy Trust Fund that would be dedicated to “clean” and renewable energy programs.

Provisions of the GOP’s stimulus, such as energy-cost reduction, “would constitute a more significant tax cut than anything in the (Obama’s) stimulus bill,” said Louisiana’s Vitter.

Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, said that the plan would address the fact that U.S. energy production is currently being “outsourced” to other countries.

“We are outsourcing energy production in this nation to a scale 10 times as great as any of the outsourcing of American jobs,” Shadegg said.

Shadegg pointed out that the natural gas and oil that we get from other countries, such as Russia and Venezuela, could be gathered from within the U.S., which in turn would reduce the outsourcing of American jobs and create more jobs.

The Republicans said their plan was more acceptable to the American public than the Obama administration’s proposed “cap-and-trade” program – a plan that Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said would constitute a huge tax on American business.

“If they did this (impose a cap and trade tax), we would be looking at a minimum of $300 billion a year,” Inhofe said. “This would be the largest single permanent tax in the history of the world.”

Under cap-and-trade, caps on carbon emissions are set for industry, and companies that produce emissions under the cap are allowed to sell their excess capacity to companies that go over the limit.

The No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009, meanwhile, also would step up the disbursement of funds from Obama’s stimulus bill by streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act — an action recommended by the Congressional Budget Office.

All original CNSNews.com material, copyright 1998-2009 Cybercast News Service. Reprinted here with permission from CNSNews. Visit the website at CNSNews.com

Questions

1. Republican Congressmen John Fleming (LA), John Shadegg (AZ) and Rob Bishop (UT), introduced the No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009 Wednesday, March 11, as a foundation plan to stabilize our economy and grow the energy sector in the U.S., according to a news release. Simultaneously, Republican Senators David Vitter (LA), along with Tom Coburn (OK) and James Inhofe (OK), introduced the legislation to the Senate.
List the five energy proposals called for in the bill.

2. How will this bill help Americans, according to Sen. Vitter? Be specific.

3. a) Who would benefit from this plan?
b) How will they benefit?
What will be the benefits of the No Cost Stimulus Act

4. What additional problem will the bill address, according to Rep. Shadegg? (How will it help Americans?)

5. Read about “cap and trade” under “Background” below. Why is Sen. Inhofe opposed to President Obama’s proposed “cap and trade” program?

6. a) Democrats in Congress have criticized Republicans for opposing President Obama’s stimulus plan because Republicans didn’t offer any solution of their own. Do you think the Republicans’ No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009 is a good plan? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.

7.  OPTIONAL:  Send an email to your Senators and Representative expressing your opinion – should Congress pass the No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009?  Be clear, concise and polite.

  • Find Senators’ contact information at senate.gov on the top right corner of the homepage.
  • Find Representatives’ contact information at house.gov on the top center of the homepage.

Free Answers — Sign-up here to receive a daily email with answers.

Background

Cap and trade

  • Cap and trade (or emissions trading) is an approach used by governments to control greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels [oil and gas]) by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases (water vapor accounts for the largest amount of greenhouse gas). 
  • The purpose of cap and trade is to slow/end global warming by those who believe it is caused by man’s use of fossil fuels.
  • The government sets a limit, or cap, on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted. (The U.S. program is currently voluntary.)
  • Companies are issued emission permits and are required to hold an equivalent number of allowances (or credits) which represent the right to emit a specific amount.
  • The total amount of allowances and credits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level.
  • Companies that need to increase their emissions must buy credits (trade) from those who emit less greenhouse gases.  
  • Read more about cap and trade here.

Economist Arthur Laffer said in a study on the pros and cons of enforcing a mandatory cap and trade program in the U.S.:

  • Because fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) provide 86 percent of current U.S. energy needs and it is not currently feasible to substitute contribution of alternative energy sources in the near-term, a GHG cap could effectively become an energy production cap — or an energy supply shock.
  • Based on the energy efficiency responses to the energy supply shocks of the 1970s, the U.S. economy could be 5.2 percent smaller in 2020 compared to what would otherwise be expected if cap-and-trade regulations are imposed. This equates to a potential income loss of about $10,800 for a family of four for the initial Kyoto GHG reduction target.

Resources

Watch a video of the press conference on the No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009 at youtube.com/watch?v=ll9NHf8LakY.

Read a commentary on the No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009 at heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2336.cfm.

Read the entire text of the No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009 at govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1431.