Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Morgan Griffith on the U.S. Budget

The greater part of Congressman Morgan Griffith's E-Newsletter was about budgetary issues:

"“Everyday Decisions”

A hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, April 12 focused on legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to submit to Congress a cost analysis before finalizing any rule or regulation estimated to cost at least $1 billion. After EPA submits the cost analysis to Congress, an independent analysis is made by the Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE).

But wait – there’s more! In order to stop a regulation, DOE must consult with other executive agencies – the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration.

If enacted, the bill would bring to light this EPA’s assault on industry, particularly the energy industries. This bill would make clearer proposed rules’ impact on gasoline, electricity, and other energy prices, and also provide information regarding any potential job losses.

While discussing the legislation at this hearing, Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) – chief author of Cap and Trade – said “this is an unprecedented intrusion on the authority of the EPA.” Mr. Waxman went on to say, “imagine applying this bill’s premise to everyday decisions. …”

You read that right. Mr. Waxman is trying to argue that spending $1 billion is similar to an everyday decision. I don’t know anybody in our part of Virginia who would think that a $1 billion decision is an everyday decision.

The last year I served in the Virginia General Assembly, 2010, the entire Virginia budget was less than $40 billion. I can assure you that to the Virginia government, a $1 billion decision is not an everyday decision.

The people elected us to be responsible and to include checks and balances in the system. When a check on the $1 billion level has become “unreasonable,” it’s clear why we have a debt and deficit problem in Washington.

Is it really unreasonable to alert Congress to regulations which cost $1 billion or greater? Particularly when another department of the Administration gets to do an independent analysis as well? Is it really unreasonable when there is a $1 billion cost after an analysis by EPA and DOE in consultation with an additional group of Administration branch agencies who have determined “significant adverse effects to the economy?

I don’t think so, but Mr. Waxman does. This is a significant problem, not only in coal, gas, and oil country, but across the Ninth District, Virginia, and the United States.

Under this EPA, energy prices are stubbornly high. Accordingly, the cost of living continues to rise, making it increasingly difficult for many to make ends meet, especially for the elderly and the poor. When I once asked her about rising heating bills, then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson responded along the lines of “there are programs to help those people.” … See below.

Budget

President Obama recently released his budget, and lo and behold, he took action on a program that Administrator Jackson by implication was referencing. That program is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps families with high energy costs. However, LIHEAP is a program that the President proposes cutting in his budget plan.

President Obama and his Administration are pushing through policies that raise your energy costs while suggesting that programs like LIHEAP be cut. I believe that the President’s plan includes many cuts he never intends to happen. It is my opinion that his budget, which was nine weeks late, was put forward to increase spending and taxes, and many of the cuts he proposed were just part of a smokescreen to hide his true objectives. "

To which I add: Fellow Virginians, we already have our own program for privately helping recipients of public assistance programs to meet their heating expenses. It's called "Neighbor to Neighbor" and from time to time notes about it fall out when you open your APCo, PEPCO, or Dominion Power electricity bill. This web site recommends using it. Our larger churches also have programs for helping people pay utility bills. This web site recommends supporting those programs, even if you normally don't go to church or go to a smaller church. And if you know someone who is not a welfare cheat, whose house seems dark and cold and who is not getting paid to write about how to save money by heating your house only to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, I'm sure you know what this web site recommends doing.

Will this administration exploit the misery of hypertensive geriatric patients whose medication makes them feel chilly in overheated houses, sitting in cold houses, in order to collect more money for more useless and undesirable federal programs? Have we not just seen this administration exploit the poverty of people who may include Barack Obama's blood relatives? They'll do it if we let them. So don't let them. You can pre-pay a needy person's heating expenses, through "Neighbor to Neighbor," church funds, or direct contributions to the person's account, in summer if you so choose.