Just a few wee details about the House's Independence energy bills

When I wrote about Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) introduction this week of an energy bill package with the word independence attached to it, a reader suggested I add more information about the bills. So, here goes.
As I said yesterday, the package doesn't mess with mileage standards because Pelosi wants there to be a consensus on the bills to move them through Congress quickly. The Houston Chronicle points out that, unlike Republican-led energy legislations of the past, Pelosi's plan emphasizes conservation, with "new efficiency standards for dishwashers, refrigerators and other appliances; require installation of more energy-efficient lighting; prod gas stations to install E-85 pumps for cars that can run on fuel containing 15 percent ethanol; and provide tax incentives for consumers to buy more fuel-efficient "plug-in" hybrid cars, with batteries that can be recharged when the car isn't in use."

There are also $16 billion in energy industry tax breaks shut down.

Oh, and for the detail-loving, please find the full transcript of yesterday's press conference after the break. Enjoy.

[Source: Office of the Speaker of the House, Houston Chronicle]
Transcript of Today's Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders and Committee Chairs' Energy Press Conference

WASHINGTON, June 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders and Committee Chairs held a news conference in the Capitol this morning on their "Energy Independence Day" legislation. Below is a transcript of their remarks:

Thursday, June 28, 2007
11:06 a.m.

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning. Today, in the tradition of our Founding Fathers and in the interest of our children and our grandchildren, we begin a new American revolution.

With confidence in American ingenuity and high faith in our future, we Democrats declare America's independence from foreign oil. For their extraordinary efforts I thank our chairs, Chairman Dingell, Chairman Obey, Chairman Rangel, Chairman Miller, Chairman Oberstar, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Rahall, Chairman Lantos, Chairman Gordon, Chairman Peterson, and Chairwoman Velazquez.

At the beginning of this Congress, I asked our distinguished chairs to bring to the House of Representatives legislation that addressed the issues of energy independence and reversing global warming, and to do so in a way that promoted innovation, to create small businesses in our country, and to do so in a way that was fiscally sound.

On the 11 committees of jurisdiction that relates to energy independence and global warming, almost every Member of Congress serves. So almost every Member of Congress, Democrat and Republican alike, has had an opportunity to weigh in on the legislation that I am announcing today.

As promised, as part of our open process that allowed Republicans and Democrats to weigh in on the House committees, the committee chairs crafted a New Direction energy independence initiative.

The legislation that we'll hear about this morning strengthens our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It provides the largest investment in home grown biofuels and supports clean, renewable energy. It lowers energy costs for the consumers with greater efficiency and smarter technology -- including a landmark increase in efficiency to reduce consumer energy costs.

It creates new jobs, new technologies and innovation, and invests in cutting-edge research, supports small business, creates energy solutions, and creates 'good green' jobs.

It combats the climate crisis; it presses the Administration to take the lead in fighting global warming, and builds on our 'Green the Capitol' initiative by mandating that the federal government require federal government operations to be carbon neutral by 2050.

When it comes to energy, we must think big and lead the future. We must be bold; we must declare independence from yesterday's thinking and invest in energy solutions of tomorrow.

That is what the Democratic energy independence initiative does and I am proud to present it to the American people today. It's an exciting day for all of us, because true to the traditions of our founders, as we approach July 4th Independence Day, my favorite day of the year, we have more reason to honor our founders, honoring their legacy of independence, of optimism, of confidence in the future, and the ingenuity of the American people.

And in that spirit I'm pleased to yield, with great gratitude and appreciation for his leadership, the distinguished chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Dingell.

Mr. Dingell. Madam Speaker, thank you. First of all, let me say how proud I am to work with you and to work under your leadership to move forward in addressing the problems the Nation faces on energy use, energy independence, and on the very important subject of climate change. And I do want to congratulate you, Madam Speaker, for the work that you are doing.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce, as we stand here, are working on a list of six bills which will accomplish the beginning of our responsibilities in this matter. Energy efficiency: Some 43 provisions to improve the nation's energy efficiency with subtitles on appliances, lighting, residential buildings, commercial Federal buildings, industry, public institution and energy efficiency contracts. These provisions alone will result in 8.6 billion tons of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by the year 2030. That is equal to removing all of the automobiles from the highways, Madam Speaker.

We have adopted last night two others piece of law which will be on the floor under your leadership Madam Speaker, shortly, and that they were adopted by voice votes: smart electric grid and also a provision with regard to moving forward on our energy loan guarantee programs.

We will be completing three more, and I am here to reannounce that we will be working on a wide spectrum of climate change/global warming legislation commencing in September, which is now being drafted by the committee staff and which will be submitted to the committee at that time. This will address all of the many questions, including the very difficult ones which we confront such as CAFE and such as questions of utilizing our coal and nuclear resources to provide the best mix of energy use and energy resources to our people.

So, Madam Speaker, we are looking forward to working with you and also with my outstanding colleagues here who are providing such splendid leadership. And by your lead, I am going to go get back to work. Thank you all.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The distinguished Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Obey.

Mr. Obey. My great friend and mentor was Senator Gaylord Nelson, the father of Earth Day. And if he were here he would tell you that the reason that this country is in hostage to the oil companies and to Mideast oil is because since the day that Jimmy Carter left the White House and Gaylord Nelson left the Senate, we have allowed our energy research for renewables to drop by 80 percent in real terms since that time, and we have allowed our conservation efforts to drop to 50 percent in real terms since that time.

What we tried to do in the continuing resolution when we took over in January, and what we have continued to do in the Interior bill, the Energy and Water bill and several others on the appropriations side, is to in just five months since we have taken over control of the Congress, we have restored 40 percent of those real reductions in renewables and we have restored 50 percent of those reductions in conservation programs.

We added over $300 million in the continuing resolution for those programs. We added over a billion dollars in the Energy and Water appropriations bill and we have added $300 million in Interior.

Our goal is over the next five years to wind up effectively doubling in real terms those research levels that were in existence when Jimmy Carter left office. We think that will help put us on the way to long term energy stability and will open many opportunities for discoveries that right now are just on the tip of our brains.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for the "Greening the Capital" Initiative in the legislative branch as well, as you said, other subcommittee.

The distinguished Chairman of Ways and Means.

Mr. Rangel. Madam Speaker, when the Speaker reminded us that this was the Fourth of July and the independence of our great Republic, I pictured the picture that they had of those who put it all together. And I am inclined to get a copy of this picture with us standing here on this Independence Day and know it would be much different, our Speaker being in that picture, and brother Clyburn and I being in that picture as well.

I have often lived in fear that my kids and grandkids will say, "Granddad, when the whole world was threatened with global warming, when wars were declared because of energy and our lack of it, when it appeared as though the economy, those decisions were being made for the availability of oil, what were you doing?"

Until today, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, we are able to say that she's brought us all together to come up with something that we could be proud that we will be able to answer: "We recognized the problem, we knew it was national and international, and we embarked on doing something about it."

Not one of us really had put this together. Our Speaker has brought us together to have a comprehensive program. The little part that we had was to find $16 billion to reach out to people and say, Can we do better than this? Can we get a renewable fuel? Do we have to rely on oil? Can we stop the wars and the economic decisions? Can we use the sun, the wind, the tidal waves? Other ways to do things to come up involving our farmers our scientists and come up with something so that we can say, "On our watch we made one heck of a difference."

And then we went further than that and said, "And let us conserve what we are dependent on. Let's get hybrid cars and find a way to conserve. Let's invest in mass transit. Let's find alternate ways. Let's make appliances that we have energy efficient and give them the tax incentives to do the right thing."

And so, Madam Speaker, we're proud of our package. We are here to answer any questions, if any. But I am glad to be a part of this picture that is energy independence, and for your leadership.

Speaker Pelosi. And thank you for the $16 billion.

Mr. Rangel. Give or take.

Speaker Pelosi. Here we go in seniority, Mr. Miller, Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee.

Mr. Miller of California. Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you so much for your leadership to bring us to this point today where our combined efforts will be the greatest effort in the history of the Congress to move America to a new generation of energy policy, to a forward looking energy policy, and to a policy of greater independence for our Nation.

Last year, our Nation was warned by the National Renewable Energy Lab that the shortage of skilled and trained workers would serve as a barrier to the growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

Yesterday, the Education and Labor Committee reported out the Green Jobs bill which seeks to remedy that problem identified last year by the Energy Lab. And to do that we have provided for $125 million to fund partnerships between employers and employees and of community colleges and community organizations to develop the skills, the training and the talent necessary for these emerging industries, for these growth industries.

So this bill is not only about energy independence, it is also about economic independence, because this training and these skills can lead families to good jobs and good wages for a long period of time into the future.

We recognize that many of these skills will be required in parts of our country where these traditional skills are not available or the new skills are not available, the infrastructure to develop them. So this is a proposal to spread these skills and the training opportunities across this Nation so that we can lay down the foundation for those 3 million jobs that most economists tell us will be coming if we really commit ourselves to an energy policy of the future based upon renewable energies and efficiency.

Madam Speaker thank you so much for your leadership.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Miller. Mr. Oberstar, not with us oh, I'm sorry. He has a very big piece of all of this. Thank you.

Mr. Oberstar, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure.

Mr. Oberstar. I concur with Charlie Rangel and George Miller, you brought us together. You made it all possible, and your driving force has brought us to this point of combining. This is our piece of the energy security issue and climate change mitigation. We have 11 items. All practical, doable. Doesn't need a Manhattan Project. We are going to create in the Department of Transportation a Center for Climate Change and Environment.

We in this bill authorize $1.7 billion in capital operating funds for transit agencies to reduce their fares and to expand services, increasing the Federal share for transit agencies to acquire alternative fuel buses, locomotives, ferryboats, and fueling facilities for those alternative fuel initiatives. That was started back in ICE TEA in 1991 and we already have proven that hydrogen cell buses are operative, are effective and can operate even in the environment of Santa Barbara with all of its hills.

The legislation also increases the Federal share for congestion mitigation and air quality improvement, legislation we first enacted in 1991 as part of the Federal Aid Highway Program to use highway funds for incentives to States to increase these initiatives for transit. The goal is to move to a 10 percent mode share for transit. If we do that all across America, as Europe does, we can save the equivalent of 550 million barrels of oil, which is the amount we import each year from Saudi Arabia.

Already the state of New Jersey has achieved a 10 percent mode shift to transit. We provide funding for green locomotives and track improvements for shortline railroads; a new initiative for short sea shipping to move containers in the coastalized trade on the salt water ports in the Great Lakes to remove bottleneck areas that are now causing containers to be moved from rail to truck, congesting our highways; our new Green Ports Initiative; an FAA research program to certify lower energy noise technology for aircraft. And we require the General Services Administration to come to us with each of their building prospectuses to show life cycle costing and alternative energy use including establishment of photovoltaics in their systems and compact fluorescents.

The energy bill in the 367 million square feet of office space under our jurisdiction is $5,800,000,000. We can cut that by 90 percent with the use of photovoltaics. And we have already moved legislation to create a sun wall on the Department of Energy to turn the lights on in the Department of Energy with photovoltaics and run everything in the building, all electricity with photovoltaics, and ship excess power at the end of the day back into the local power grid. These are all realistic, at hand, doable initiatives.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. With all of these distinguished chairmen and the wealth of information and knowledge and wisdom that they have about this subject, we are very blessed as we go forward. And last week many of you were with us when we did the greening of the Capitol; I think we're doing the greening of the Chairmen today. With Mr. Oberstar's initiatives and Mr. Waxman who is not with us today, but his committee is working on oversight in terms of the Federal buildings and their emissions, etc. -- we will have not only the greening of the Capitol but the greening of the federal government.

Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.

And next in seniority is Mr. Rahall, the Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.

Mr. Rahall. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Our Committee on Natural Resources has produced legislation as a part of this comprehensive energy package that will help go a long way toward reducing this country's energy dependence on foreign sources. Our bill repeals several big oil giveaways of the previous Congress' action. It does create several billion dollars, perhaps chump change for the big oil companies, but nevertheless will go a great deal toward helping finance what we're doing here today.

We eliminate the widely criticized royalty in kind program, for example, and replace it with required audits on the oil companies and require them to pay that in cash to the true owners of the land and the waters, the American taxpayer.

We require more audits to ensure that the taxpayers are receiving their just return from the use of their resources, all of our resources, to extract oil and gas from our public lands.

We provide critical new protections to landowners where the mineral rights under their lands are owned by the oil and gas companies rather than surface owners. Like the Senate bill, we authorize the national assessment of our geological formations capable of sequestering carbon dioxide by requiring a nationwide assessment of geological formations capable of sequestering carbon dioxide on our public lands as well as the review of the sequestration in our ecosystems. Making progress on this issue of carbon sequestration is critical to using more coal, our most abundant natural resource in this country, to promote our energy independence.

We do provide for thoughtful development of solar, wind, ocean and biomass power on public lands and our coasts offshore.

We require the administration to develop a national strategy for assessing wildlife in adapting to global warming, and we establish a much needed comprehensive system for collecting information on conditions on our oceans and our coasts.

This bill is a very well rounded development of our natural resources in a responsible and accountable and transparent fashion on our public lands.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. The distinguished Chairman of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lantos.

Mr. Lantos. Thank you, Madam Speaker. And let me congratulate you for bringing us together on what is unquestionably one of the number one issues that we face globally.

Let me first say that from Angela Merkel in Germany to the new Prime Minister, President of France, Mr. Sarkozy and you better learn how to pronounce his name because it is Sarkozy, and don't mispronounce it, because he is very sensitive about his Hungarian background

Speaker Pelosi. You're very sensitive.

Mr. Lantos. and wants to be sure everybody pronounces it correctly.

To the Indian leadership, the Russian leadership, there is a new awakening on the part of our colleagues in the global community that we are taking a new energy approach very seriously.

We're not here to debate the existence of global warming. The time for that is over. That debate is done.

The question now is what we're going to do about the global warming crisis in a concrete and far reaching way, in a way that will create a truly livable world for all of our children.

That is why I introduced the International Climate Cooperation Reengagement Act, H.R. 2420, serious substantive legislation to reinvigorate international negotiations to stop global warming and to help developing nations produce energy in a clean and sustainable way.

You will be pleased to note that the Foreign Affairs Committee approved this bill 29 to 16 last month. By passing it, this Congress will send a strong bipartisan signal that the time for endless delays to stem global warming is passed.

Any meaningful post Kyoto agreement must have three elements -- a viable target for stabilizing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere of the Earth; binding emissions reduction targets; and flexible mechanisms such as carbon trading to make the agreement economically workable.

Our legislation contains new initiatives to boost American exports of energy efficient and clean energy technologies, a sector of our technology on the cutting edge of technological innovation. The good news is that because of the hard work of our scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs around the globe, the technology we need to stem global warming is available and is affordable. We now summon the national and global political will to tackle climate change. We need to adopt collectively a new mind set on our planet, an urgent proactive mind set.

This is truly a Declaration of Independence for energy independence and energy security. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much. Now the Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, Mr. Bart Gordon.

Mr. Gordon. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I have had the good fortune to work with Speaker Pelosi for a number of years, and with the exception of when she talks about her family, I have never seen her face light up and be more enthusiastic about any issue. And it is that enthusiasm and passion that has brought all of us together to do something that I don't think many of us thought we could get done a few months ago, is to get this good of a bill this soon. I am really excited about that.

The Science and Technology Committee plays a role in two parts. One, we helped develop the technology, the sensors, to know where we are in terms of the climate now and so we will know whether we're meeting our goals later. Unless you have that benchmark, you won't be able to do that.

Second part is we really can't get there from here with existing technology. We have got have a bump. And that bump is across the board. Whether it is solar, biomass, just across the board. And that's what our committee has tried to do.

We have passed out 12 bills, 7 of which will be in this particular segment of the energy packages, all of which have been bipartisan, all but one have been unanimous. And they are going to help us with that transformational change which not only will help us with our economy, it is going to produce new industry, new jobs, and more exports.

So thank you, Madam Pelosi, for your leadership.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership.

When Chairman Rangel was talking about that picture and the founders and the excitement of what that picture would look today when we immodestly associate ourselves with their legacy talking about Mr. Clyburn, the Speaker being a woman and he being Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, how wonderful it was to include in that picture the distinguished Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, Congresswoman Velazquez.

Madam Speaker, thank you so much for bringing all of us together and to offer a comprehensive way to address the issue of energy independence in this country. And in doing so, also we are talking about economic security. When we talk about global warming and the type of comprehensive strategy that we are trying to put together, we cannot lose sight of the fact that 70 percent of biodiesel producers in this country are small businesses. So we cannot address the issue of global warming in America without addressing the important role that small businesses play in this issue.

So according to a recent study conducted by the National Small Business Association, 93 percent of small business owners anticipate negative consequences to their businesses because of higher energy prices. But small companies can also be part of the solution. They have taken the lead in renewable energy industries like biodiesel and ethanol. And this is why my committee passed the Small Energy Efficient Business Act that will be part of this comprehensive package.

It will help small businesses acquire and develop energy efficient technologies. We will provide more flexible loan terms through the 7A and 504 programs which will spur development and purchase of more clean technologies.

Also we will require the Small Business Administration to develop a national strategy for educating small firms about energy efficiency. We all know that small businesses in this country are all consumed in terms of their bottom line and that they do not have either the capital, the personnel, to look at solutions to bring their energy prices down in terms of their company. So the Small Business Administration can play an important role in helping them develop an energy efficiency strategy.

My legislation also uses to establish a network of small business development centers across this Nation to assist businesses with developing energy efficiency plans and provides equity investment in firms producing new energy efficient technologies and alternative fuels such as biofuels. So not only do we use what we have available, the tools that are under the Small Business Administration, but we will provide the capital and equity investment to assist small businesses to continue to do what they do best: coming up with strategies, bringing solutions and creating jobs for our economy. Thank you.

Speaker Pelosi. That's fabulous. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Our success today in bringing our chairmen together and important legislation to the floor would not have been possible without the extraordinary leadership of the entire Democratic leadership of the Congress, two of whom are with us today. Understanding and knowing full well the importance that energy independence is to our national security, to the creation of jobs and creation of small business through innovation, protecting of our environment by curbing global warming, and by lowering costs to the consumer, they have been a major part, a major catalyst in bringing together the success we have today.

And I yield the floor to our distinguished majority leader, so important in all of that, Steny Hoyer.

Mr. Hoyer. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. This is a day that we declare independence. We declare independence from time to time. Charlie Rangel mentioned declaring independence from Great Britain and establishing this great Nation. This is a day about declaring independence and strength and the safety of our people. National security.

We hear about energy but we're talking about national security. Independence from those who would keep us hostage because we are not energy independent.

This is a day about opportunity for our people, an innovation agenda. Kristen Gillibrand from New York, one of our new Members, talked about energy independence in the sense of the technology development that Bart Gordon talked about, and selling that technology to billions of people around the world who themselves must become energy efficient.

And it is about the health of our people. It is about global warming and the sustaining of life on this planet. This is an extraordinary day. Speaker Pelosi has been referred to by all the committee chairmen as the leader who has brought us together, focuses on the critical issue to our national security, to our economic well being and to our environment and the health of our people.

This is a day in which we declare independence. But it is also a day in which we declare our commitment to a new direction and a better life, not only for all Americans, but for all the world.

I am now pleased to yield to my whip, the Speaker's whip, the caucus' whip, the Democratic whip who has done such an extraordinary job over these six months in making sure that we passed, in my opinion, one of the most comprehensive agendas in the last 6 months of any year in which I have served in the Congress, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

Mr. Clyburn. Thank you very much, Mr. Leader, Madam Speaker, distinguished Chairmen. I don't believe that I have experienced a time in my life that I have been more excited and anxious than today, except maybe in September or the fall of 1957. That was the fall that I entered South Carolina State University, and a few months later Sputnik went up into the atmosphere. We were all very excited as freshmen on our campus, looking in order to the future, and we were all very anxious as a result of that innovation.

Today, we stand on the brink of a new revolution in America, be it sweet sorghum in Texas, rye straw in California, corn stover in Iowa, switchgrass in Minnesota, sugarcane in Florida, soybeans in North and South Carolina, and throughout the Southeast. I think that what these have created here with these new bills will result in some good and redeeming value for kudzu throughout the Southeast.

What we are doing here today is creating new opportunities, creating a new workforce in a sector that I would call "green collar" jobs, 3.5 million of them. All of this within the next 10 years.

I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for her laser like beam on this issue. I want to thank these distinguished Chairs for their creativity and innovation. I do believe that this day is just as exciting as the fall of '57. Thank you.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Clyburn.

The Chairman of the Agriculture Committee couldn't be here, Mr. Peterson, but his views were well represented by Mr. Clyburn and the work that that committee is doing for energy efficiency as America's farmers will fuel America's energy independence.

Yes, it is an exciting day. It is historic in that it honors the legacy of our founders, and historic in what it sets out to do, and historic that we can have 11 Chairmen coming forth with legislation on time, within budget, all paid for -- right, Mr. Chairman? It either is or will be. And in a way that honors the promises that we have made.

I'd like to acknowledge the presence of the Chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, not a committee of legislative jurisdiction, but I thought if we could have a moment of your time, Mr. Markey, to give us a little overview and then our Chairmen will be available for questions.

Mr. Markey. Thank you, Madam Speaker, very much. You know, there is an old saying: What a difference a day makes. And that day was the day that Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the Speaker of the House. Because within two weeks she was gathering all of the Chairmen and Chairwomen of all of the committees that you see gathered here today to put together what some people felt was an unrealistic set of goals, which was to have an event like this right before the Fourth of July, with all of the Chairmen bringing together legislation ready for the debate on the House floor that would deal with the serious issues of global warming and energy independence.

Twenty years ago the United States imported 27 percent of its oil. Last year we imported 60 percent of the oil which we use. It is going up a percent to a percent and a half every single year and nothing has been done about it. And today what the Speaker is announcing today is the beginning of the effort to roll that back, to reshape our relationship with those that send us that oil, which ultimately in many instances winds up helping these petro jihadists. It actually funds the wars that are being waged around the world against us.

And secondly, that even in the testimony that we have heard from generals and admirals, that climate change is having an effect upon our country. That in Darfur and Somalia that climate change leads to drought, which leads to famine, which actually has led in Somalia to the U.S. sending in our troops, which led to "Black Hawk Down." Much of what is happening in Darfur is because of climate change and the impact on those people.

So this is a moral issue as well as a political issue, as well as an energy independence issue. It is something that we have to deal with. And what the Speaker is announcing today with all of these Chairs is the first time that we have actually put together comprehensive legislation on these two subjects. And you can see by the unity of the Chairs -- and, by the way, as she said, almost every Member of Congress has had a chance to participate in this process on both sides of the aisle. You can actually feel the change that's occurred in our country in just 5 months. That now there is a sense that not only something must be done but something will be done. And the Speaker has created that climate.

And we can feel that sense of optimism now amongst young people across the country that finally the Congress gets it. Finally, Washington is beginning to respond. And this is an incredibly important day, but it is one that is going to require a lot of additional work. But as you can see, the members of the Speaker's leadership team are ready to take on that challenge. And it is just an incredible day, I think, for every one of us to feel that we have been allowed to be a part of it.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Markey.

Again I want to thank our distinguished Chairmen for their historic work. And the work is not only historic, but it is about the future.

With that, we would be pleased to take any questions.

Q You call this energy independence and yet many of your colleagues, the colleagues on the left and on the right, and even in the center, the Blue Dog Democrats, have complained that they haven't had the freedom to introduce or debate legislation that they say would really introduce energy independence. Can you comment on that?

Speaker Pelosi. I don't know what you are referring to.

Q Both Dingell and Boucher have said that you dropped sections of their energy bill that they would like to introduce. Markey said he would like to introduce CAFE.

Speaker Pelosi. I get your point.

Q Are you going to push the Rules Committee to limit debate and amounts on the floor for these bills?

Speaker Pelosi. As I have said at the start of this, this will be the most open process. That's why, as I say, we have 11 committees of jurisdiction weighing in on it where every Member of Congress, just about every Member of Congress has had a role to play. We have told them to bring us bills that meet three criteria: reduce energy, reverse global warming, encourage investments in innovation which will speed this along and create jobs and small businesses in America. And the fourth applies to everything, so I will just say those three in particular, to do this in a way that is pay- as-you-go.

This is the consensus package that we will be bringing to the floor. It is not the end of the debate. That debate, as Mr. Dingell -- as Chairman Dingell mentioned at the beginning -- will continue into the fall. This has more a focus on energy independence. A strong piece of it is global warming. The rest it will follow later but it will be an open debate.

Q On the issue of CAFE, that means that you will provide for a CAFE increase but do not want it to be part of the energy bill when it comes to the floor in the House?

Speaker Pelosi. Let meet be very specific. Mr. Dingell and I are in conversation, as with Mr. Boucher, the chairman of the subcommittee, about how we proceed on some of the other issues. The committee, the subcommittee, the full committee, will work its will and so will the Congress, and it will do so in the fullest and most open way.

Q When do you see this bill coming to the floor? Are you talking about July?

Speaker Pelosi. We'd like to have it in July. We will have to check with the distinguished majority leader and see what time we have on the schedule in July. But the substance is done. The legislation has been submitted. We just have to bring it together, certain jurisdictional germaneness issues, so that we will be ready soon. It is just a question of floor time. But we would hope -- is that correct, Mr. Leader?

Mr. Hoyer. You say "the bill." I'm not sure that the Ways and Means product will be incorporated, obviously, the appropriation process are coming now on the floor and passing.

But there will be a comprehensive package, but necessarily just one big bill. The answer to your question is we want to bring these bills as quickly as possible to the floor. I will be talking with all the Chairmen as to when they think they can bring these bills to the floor. They are ready now. We do have five appropriation bills to do but we are going to get these bills done certainly in the month of July and/or September.

Q The Senate has a bill and they are trying to go to conference

Speaker Pelosi. We will work in the time of the House. They have worked in their schedule. We will work in ours.

Q Madam Speaker, the Administration today has asserted executive privilege

Speaker Pelosi. Mike, I will be pleased to answer your questions, but we have our very distinguished Chairmen, and I would like to come back to that. I would like any questions that our Chairmen will respond to.

Q How do you respond to Republican criticism that this is an energy bill without producing any more energy?

Speaker Pelosi. Well, that's cute. But what it does is it produces more security at a lower cost to the American taxpayer. It is about our national security. It is about job creation. It is about increasing the resources, the renewable resource for energy. So I say that they are wrong. Any colleagues like to respond?

Mr. Gordon. I'm a junior Member here and I probably ought to be quiet. That is a cliche that has no merit. Their sphere of thinking is only in the fossil fuels. But even this bill, it is going to make fossil fuels more efficient. This bill talks about a great deal of additional types of energy.

The other thing I want to remind you is that even the Lord took six days to create the world. The fact of the matter is it would be irresponsible for us to come out here and say that we have the total energy package that is going to take care of all the needs. I mean there is a political issue is one hand, but there is a technological issue. We want to get this thing right. It is not a matter of just getting out here and getting something done. I mean this is complicated stuff. And it is not all going to be done just in July. It is going to have to be done in waves because it just takes a while to think through it and get it right. And that's what we want to try to do.

And again the Science Committee, the part we did, we made it bipartisan. We hope this whole thing will be bipartisan. All the bills we have got out, they are all bipartisan. Only one of them was not consensus. You have to work at it to get it right to do that. It's going to take a while.

Q Do you support the Senate's CAFE proposal that would raise CAFE to 35 by 2020?

Speaker Pelosi. To whom are you addressing that question? Yes, I do.

Q Chairman Lantos, Iran is rationing gasoline as they don't have the refining capacity, apparently. And I wondered if there is any kind of legislative or U.S. response to that crisis for them. Some suggested that maybe the United States should send some companies to help them import gasoline.

Mr. Lantos. I am delighted that you asked that question on two levels. Number one, this past week the House Foreign Affairs Committee overwhelmingly approved a dramatic tightening of sanctions on Iran.

Secondly, the House Foreign Affairs Committee overwhelmingly approved brand new legislation entitled the International Nuclear Fuel Bank. Now Ahmadinejad claims that he wants mastery of the full nuclear cycle for purposes of developing civilian nuclear energy. We believe we believe he wants the full nuclear cycle for military purposes.

The legislation my committee approved, and I am convinced the House will approve it, I'm convinced the Senate will approve it. It has the support of the administration and, ironically, the Russians. The International Nuclear Fuel Bank will provide nuclear fuel under proper safeguards for Iran and for every other Nation so that civilian nuclear energy will be available to any country on the face of this planet which agrees to safeguards for civilian nuclear purposes.

This will put Ahmadinejad's claim that he wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to the test on a silver platter. We will make available to the Iranians nuclear fuel for civilian nuclear energy purposes. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation the Congress will have passed in this session and might provide the last opportunity of serving to reduce, peacefully, the current threat from Iran.

Speaker Pelosi. I just have time for one more question, Mike?

Q The Administration has asserted executive privilege in the matter of the fired U.S. attorneys. What will you do to assert the prerogatives of Congress in this matter?

Speaker Pelosi. We will hope that the process will work its way out. Hopefully, it will be less confrontational than the Administration is making it out to be. But, you know, it is Congress and the executive branch having a disagreement over the access to information that we think is right for the American people.

The White House is simply not used to any oversight. They are not used to transparency. They are not used to answering any questions. And I think that the Congress will deal with this in a very responsible way.

Q Will there be a contempt resolution?

Speaker Pelosi. I think that is something that would be down the road. I think that there are other remedies to be exhausted before we get to that place.

Thank you all very much.

Mr. Rangel. And I might say that I'm depending on Dick Cheney to help us out, since he belongs to both branches of the government.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you all very much.

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