Comedic highlights of the Waxman-Markey bill hearing

by Marlo Lewis on April 23, 2009

File these vignettes among the endless list of political inanities that would be uproariously funny if the potential economic fallout were not so toxic.

Yesterday, in honor of Earth Day, House Energy & Commece Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) held an interminable hearing on global warming legislation that he and Rep. Ed Markey (D-CA) have drafted.

Ranking Member Joe Barton of Texas today issued a press release providing some comedic highlights from the proceeding. A grim green award goes to anyone who can read it without laughing.

Scenes from an Earth Day Hearing, Part II
House Energy & Commerce Committee, April 21-23

April 23, 2009

Is $8 gas good or bad? Energy Secretary: ‘Yes’

REP. CLIFF STEARNS, R-Fla.: Last September you made a statement that somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe, which at the time exceeded $8 a gallon. As Secretary of Energy, will you speak for or against any measures that would raise the price of gasoline?
SEC. CHU: As Secretary of Energy, I think especially now in today’s economic climate it would be completely unwise to want to increase the price of gasoline. And so we are looking forward to reducing the price of transportation in the American family. And this is done by encouraging fuel-efficient cars; this is done by developing alternative forms of fuel like biofuels that can lead to a separate source, an independent source of transportation fuel.
REP. STEARNS: But you can’t honestly believe that you want the American people to pay for gasoline at the prices, the level in Europe?
SEC. CHU: No, we don’t.
REP. STEARNS: No. But somehow, your statement, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” doesn’t that sound a little bit silly in retrospect for you to say that?
SEC. CHU: Yes.

Huh? What was the question? Nukes? Ah…, we’ll…uh…work on it…hmmm.

REP. STEARNS: The first question I have is, this is directed to the Secretary of Energy. During your confirmation hearing, you testified that DOE has a legal obligation to safely dispose of nuclear waste. You said, “I’m supportive of the fact that the nuclear industry is and should have to be part of our energy mix in this century.” Doesn’t it concern you then that nuclear energy does not even seem to be a part of this bill? I think this is a follow-up to Mr. Upton’s question.
SEC. CHU: Well, while not specifically part of this bill, if you look at the sum package of all the bills like the American Recovery Act, nuclear energy is supported in those other bills.
REP. STEARNS: But don’t you think there should be a separate title in this bill for nuclear energy? Just yes or no.
SEC. CHU: Pardon? What was the question?
REP. STEARNS: Do you think there should be a separate title in this bill for nuclear energy? Just yes or no.
SEC. CHU: We’re looking forward to working with the committee on –
REP. STEARNS: No. Just yes or no. Do you think it should be? Can I have your yes or no answer?
SEC. CHU: A separate title in nuclear energy?
REP. STEARNS: Yes. Yes or no?
SEC. CHU: I think nuclear energy can be mentioned in this bill, but again it’s working with this committee and the administration in developing –
REP. STEARNS: Is that a “no” then? You don’t think that –
SEC. CHU: No. That was a, that was a – we will look forward to working with the committee and making sure that nuclear energy is part of our energy mix.

Green jobs go missing

REP. ED WHITFIELD, R-Ky.: I wanted to ask you all, you Mr. Chu particularly and Ms. Jackson, if you had read Gabriel Alvarez’ study – he’s at King Juan Carlos’s University in Madrid. And he used empirical data based on the government subsidizing renewable energy in Spain. And he came up with the conclusion exactly how much every job cost. And I know that President Obama in this renewable energy package is modeling using Spain as a model, one of the models. But for every job created in the renewable energy sector, so-called green job, that they lost 2.2 jobs. And this is a 50-page empirical study that he conducted. And I was just, have either one of you seen his study?
MS. JACKSON: No. I’m not familiar with his study….

We didn’t model that

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-La.: Administrator Jackson, in your opening statement you talked about the jobs that would be created – green jobs that would be created under a cap-and-trade bill. Can you quantify how many jobs you estimate would be created under this legislation?
MS. JACKSON: I believe what I said, sir, is that this is a jobs bill and that the discussion draft bill in its entirety is aimed to jumpstart our move into the green economy.
REP. SCALISE: And I think you quoted President Obama saying that it was his opinion that he would – that this bill would create millions of jobs. I think you used the term “millions.” Is there anything that you can base your determination on how many jobs will be created?
MS. JACKSON: EPA has not done a model or any kind of modeling on jobs creation numbers.

Doomsday comes early to Ohio

REP. SCALISE: And, I mean, while you might not be a j