Opinion: Weekly remarks: Obama happy on clean energy, GOP’s Boehner worries on debt, taxes

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Weekly Remarks of President Barack Obama, June 27, 2009

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a historic piece of legislation that will open the door to a clean-energy economy and a better future for America.

For more than three decades, we have talked about our dependence on foreign oil. And for more than three decades, we have seen that dependence grow. We have seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardize our national security. We have seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet.

And most of all, we have seen other countries realize a critical truth: The nation that leads in the creation of a clean-energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too. Now is the time for us to lead.


The energy bill that passed the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean-energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low-carbon sources of energy – everything from wind, solar and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal.

It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.

Make no mistake: This is a jobs bill. We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean-energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act. In California, 3,000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1,000 permanent jobs. In Michigan, investment in wind turbines and....

...wind technology is expected to create over 2,600 jobs. In Florida, three new solar projects are expected to employ 1,400 people.

The list goes on and on, but the point is this: this legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries. And that will lead to American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. I have often talked about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth so that we do not return to the endless cycle of bubble and bust that led us to this recession. Clean energy and the jobs it creates will be absolutely critical to this new foundation.

This legislation has also been written carefully to address the concerns that many have expressed in the past. Instead of increasing the deficit, it is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions. It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean-energy technologies. It gives rural communities and farmers the opportunity to participate in climate solutions and generate new income.

And above all, it will protect consumers from the costs of this transition, so that in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day.

Because this legislation is so balanced and sensible, it has already attracted a remarkable coalition of consumer and environmental groups; labor and business leaders; Democrats and Republicans. And I want to thank every member of Congress who put politics aside to support this bill on Friday.

Now my call to every senator, as well as to every American, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. Don’t believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth. It’s just not true.

We have been talking about energy for decades. But there is no longer a disagreement over whether our dependence on foreign oil is endangering our security. It is. There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It’s happening.

And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy. The question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America.

And I believe that the American people and the men and women they sent to Congress share that view. So I want to congratulate the House for passing this bill, and I want to urge the Senate to take this opportunity to come together and meet our obligations -- to our constituents, to our children, to God’s creation, and to future generations. Thanks for listening.


Weekly GOP Remarks by House Majority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio

I’m John Boehner, House Republican leader. When I’m home in Ohio, I get an earful about the crushing debt Washington Democrats are running up. The president and Democrats in Congress claim this spending binge is necessary to put Americans back to work.

They promised unemployment would not rise above 8% if their trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ was passed. But our nation has lost nearly 3 million jobs this year. Unemployment has soared above 9%. And now the president admits that unemployment will soon reach double-digits. After all of this spending, after all of this borrowing from China, the Middle East, our children, and our grandchildren, where are the jobs?

It’s about to get worse for middle-class families and small businesses. Democrats are pushing a government takeover of our healthcare system that will cost at least a trillion dollars.

The president has repeatedly claimed that Americans will be able to keep their doctors under the Democrats’ plan, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that at least 23 million Americans would lose their current health coverage and their doctors.

Another independent report projects that nearly 100 million Americans may be forced onto government rolls.

Our nation could lose an additional 4.7 million jobs under the Democrats’ healthcare proposal, based on analysis developed by White House chief economic advisor, Dr. Christina Romer.

And 1 million small-business jobs would be lost because of the Democrats’ costly mandates.

Small businesses are the engine of our economy. We should help them weather the storm and create jobs. This would be a real stimulus, but Washington hasn’t tried it yet. Republicans have offered a plan that encourages investment and allows families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn to help get our economy moving again -- a real stimulus plan.

On healthcare, we’ve put forward a better alternative that will reduce costs, expand access, and increase the quality of care in a way Americans can afford -- without new taxes, costly mandates, or a government takeover that puts bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions that should be made by doctors and patients.

This week, the president and Democrats on Capitol Hill continued their push for Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax. By imposing a tax on every American who drives a car or flips on a light switch, this plan will drive up the prices for food, gasoline and electricity.

Even President Obama has said that energy prices will -- quote -- ‘skyrocket,’ and its consequences will be especially severe in rural communities across our country. The Democrats’ bill will also ship millions of jobs to competitors like China and India. A recent study estimated it will cost us between 2.3 and 2.7 million jobs every year.

We should be creating American jobs -- not destroying them.That’s why House Republicans have proposed a better way: an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to clean up the environment, lower energy costs, and create more jobs. Our plan will increase environmentally safe energy production; promote the use of alternative fuels, such as nuclear, clean-coal, and renewable energy technologies; and encourage increased efficiency.

Republicans are offering common-sense solutions that will make a real difference in creating jobs, making healthcare more affordable, and promoting a cleaner, healthier environment, and reducing energy costs. We hope our Democrat colleagues will abandon their failed go-it-alone approach and work with us to make these reforms a reality. Thanks for listening.


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Photo credits: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press; Associated Press (Boehner).