Sunday, July 09, 2006

Kennedy & Gutknecht - Two Poor Policymakers

Orginally posted on The Mankato Free Press Forum - May 1,2006

On Friday, I received emails from Mark Kennedy and Gil Gutknecht. The subject was escalating gasoline prices. Well, not to put gas on a fire, but isn’t it a little late now to tell voters that they are fighting for us? Why preach to us, when Congress needs to ask themselves why they have not addressed the problem? This Do-Nothing Congress has spent more time “in District listening sessions” (which really means campaigning and fundraising) then in legislative session. Since this session of Congress started, they have introduced a number of bills to affect gasoline consumption. But those bills have largely been sitting … inactive … waiting for committee action. Why? Part of the reason, I am afraid, is so that they go come home to the district and talk up what they want to do … when they should be going to other districts and explaining why their bill is the best for America’s future. I’m sorry, Gil but talking up your 10/10 plan in Southern Minnesota has not generated one Congressperson from Iowa – a leading ethanol producer – or other Midwest states to support your bill. If Gutknecht really wanted to advance his proposal, then take the show on the road and visit the other 49 states.

Let’s look at some of the bills.
Can you guess which bill Kennedy or Gutknecht are the lead sponsor?
H.R.3683 ( 27 cosponsors – Last Action 9/7/05 )Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to suspend for 30 days the Federal excise taxes on highway motor fuels.
H.R.3762 ( 70 cosponsors – Last Action 9/19/05 )Title: To require higher standards of automobile fuel efficiency in order to reduce the amount of oil used for fuel by automobiles in the United States by 10 percent beginning in 2016, and for other purposes.
H.R.4357 ( 36 cosponsors – Last Action 12/2/05 )Title: To amend the Clean Air Act to require all gasoline sold for use in motor vehicles to contain 10 percent renewable fuel in the year 2010 and thereafter, and for other purposes.
H.R.4409 (67 cosponsors – Last Action 12/16/05 )Title: To promote the national security and stability of the United States economy by reducing the dependence of the United States on foreign oil through the use of alternative fuels and new vehicle technologies, and for other purposes.
H.R.4623 ( 23 cosponsors – Last Action 12/17/05 )Title: To repeal tax subsidies for oil and gas enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and to use the proceeds to double certain alternative energy incentives provided for in such Act.Looking at the bills,
H.R. 3762 has the most cosponsors and actually makes the most sense -- reducing consumption through improved performance of vehicles. Guess what – neither Gutknecht nor Kennedy is cosponsors. What about the bill with the second highest number of cosponsors –
H.R. 4409. Well, the stated goal of that bill is to make the U.S. independent form oil imported from the Middle East by 2015. Once again, a good goal – it even includes mandating that 10 percent of all gasoline in the U.S. be renewable fuel by 2015. But once again, Gutknecht and Kennedy are not co-sponsors. Gutknecht specifically opposes this bill. You will have to decide if Gutknecht authorship of the 10/10 bill has motivated him to not support this broader bill.

What Minnesotans need is Congressmen who actually work for us, not just preach slogans. Give me substance over slogans and action over apathy.

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