Members of the Rural America Solutions Group say they’ve heard that House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has reached an agreement with House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman on climate change legislation but they don’t have any of the details.
Ranking Member of the Ag Committee Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and co-chair of the group says Peterson has been in discussions behind closed doors and has not briefed Republican members of the Ag Committee. While Lucas says he’s heard of positive movements for agriculture – and is hopeful Peterson accomplished great things he hasn’t seen legislative language or an outline of legislative language. He hopes to see the bill in time to analyze it ahead of the vote set for Friday.
"The premise of the bill still is to raise taxes high enough to force people to consume less energy in order to change their living habits to change the environment," Lucas said during a conference call. "I really believe based on where we are right now, short of heroic efforts by Mr. Peterson we are better off stopping this bill in its tracks."
Congressman Sam Graves, R-Mo., another co-chair of the Rural America Solutions Group, says the worst thing to do right now is place a heavy burden on small businesses and farmers through taxes. Graves says the House leadership has not disputed this measure will tax energy, impacting every consumer directly and indirectly with higher costs. He even stated he believes the bill is more about getting money into the government than climate change or fixing energy.
But if the legislation becomes law, Lucas notes it will be on the books forever.
"We want to do the right thing for rural America, for small businesses and the future of the country," Lucas said. "And stopping this freight train may be the best thing right now that we can do."
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