Tie Spending to Pro-Growth Policies
In an ideal world, Congress would pass a clean bill to fund government operations past Friday. Policy riders on spending bills diminish our ability to consider and make good policy, and cloud spending decisions with controversial extras. But with high unemployment, exploding federal debt, and a stagnant economy, it’s entirely appropriate to make spending contingent upon thoroughly reviewed, pro-growth policies. Here’s my energy wish list.
Approve Keystone. Alberta tar sands will be developed and sold to market, regardless of American action or inaction on a new pipeline. By punting on the decision to build Keystone XL, President Obama challenged Canadian oil developers to find another buyer, compromised our ability to expand our profile in the international oil market, and put to bed thousands of American jobs. Congress can and should use the spending debate to force the administration’s hand. Speaker Boehner has kept his eye on the prize – job creation – and it’s time the administration stepped up.
Retire energy tax credits. This move will be a sting to financial backers of new and emerging energy technologies, but it’s a necessary step. Our bloated government has no defensible role to play in picking winners and losers in the energy market, and all signs suggest that Washington subsidies favor election cycles over long term benefit to the energy sector. Congress should work toward tax reform that encourages growth, income, and employment, not tax policy that inhibits market competition.
Reign in the EPA. We all want to breathe easy, and the Clean Air Act has been a tremendous tool to fight pollution, but new regulations out of EPA smack of overreach. Each new action threatens small businesses with onerous and burdensome compliance requirements for strict, prescriptive regulation. Though it seems obvious, the administration can’t seem to grasp that public health and cost concerns are not mutually exclusive factors. This kind of behavior should spark scrutiny from our elected officials. Delays in both boiler MACT and ozone rules prove that extensions are feasible, and EPA’s new MPG standards for cars with “potentially severe economic consequences,” warrant some major oversight. The spending debate is a chance for Congress to weigh in on EPA decision making.
The federal budget and the national economy are both a mess. I hope Congress sees this week as a test to chip away at overspending and support growth in energy and our economy.