Lipinski Votes to Move Energy Bill to the Senate Lipinski: We Improved Bill, More Work Needs to be Done (June 26, 2009)

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) released the following statement as the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

"After much deliberation over the contents of this energy bill, I decided to vote to move the bill on to the Senate. This bill is not perfect, but this is just the first step in the legislative process.

"America needs to break its addiction to fossil fuels, especially foreign oil. I have been a strong defender of both the local and global environment since I was first elected to Congress in 2004. But it is not only our environment that is threatened; our national security and economic security are also at risk if we continue down the path that we have been on.

"This is not the bill that I would have written. In fact, I helped introduce a bill that would have simply put a user fee on polluters and required all the money collected to be returned to working Americans and retirees in the form of tax cuts and increases in Social Security benefits.

"I attempted to add three amendments to the bill. These would have (1) provided a guaranteed increase in Social Security benefits to cover any increased costs, (2) helped protect American manufacturers and manufacturing jobs, and (3) regulated the trading of carbon allowances more closely to avoid the same catastrophe that struck the financial markets. The final version of the bill increases protections for manufacturers, better regulates carbon trading markets, and provides relief for consumers.

"I will continue to work to make sure that Social Security recipients do not suffer under this bill, manufacturers are protected even more, and strong regulations are included in the final bill. I spoke with President Obama, who assured me that he would work with me to make these improvements before the bill reaches a final vote.

"This was a very difficult vote, but I know that America cannot continue its current course on energy. If we act correctly we can protect the environment, increase our national security, and produce millions of green energy jobs. But this bill must be improved before it becomes law or we will not accomplish these goals. As I said earlier this year when I voted to pass the stimulus bill the first time it was considered in the House, I will continue to be a leader in efforts to revise and improve the bill, and I will not support the final bill unless it is improved. The stimulus bill did not improve, so I did not support final passage. Unfortunately my predictions about that bill's shortcomings have so far proven correct. I will be working to make sure that this energy bill does improve so I can support final passage and help produce a cleaner, more secure, and more prosperous nation."

(June 26, 2009)