Republican Whip Roy Blunt

Whip Journal

  • A Break for a Job "Un-Well" Done
    Jul 30, 2008  - Look at this blurb from last week’s Time: The 260 laws passed by the 110th Congress represent a 30-year low, and they include the naming of 74 post offices, not to mention the nonbinding resolutions designating July National Watermelon Month and recognizing dirt as an essential natural resource. Approval of Congress has sunk to a record low: 9% of people in a Rasmussen poll think lawmakers are doing a good or excellent job. The happiest news in this for the Democrats running the place is that about 40% of voters think the Republicans are still in charge. 

    It’s pretty clear what the American people think about the job the Democrat-led Congress has done and with a performance review like that one - it's past time to get to work.  But, never one to let facts get in the way, this Do-Nothing Democratic Congress still believes they deserve a break for a job well done.  And that's exactly what they did today by voting to go on a five-week long vacation. 

    17 Democrats joined Republicans today in opposing the adjournment resolution, because they rightly feel that Congress should not leave town until it takes up and passes legislation addressing sky-rocketing energy prices. When the price of gas is over $4 a gallon, it’s hard to justify a vote to go on vacation when so many American families can’t afford theirs. American workers and businesses are struggling because of high energy costs and it’s time the Democratic majority takes this issue seriously.


  • After much ado… Democrats unveil their Energy “Plan”
    Jul 8, 2008  -
    Read this quote from a Democratic sraffer:

    “Right now, our strategy on gas prices is ‘Drive small cars and wait for the wind,’ ” said a Democratic aide.

    Well, that might be good enough for the Democrats, but Republicans want an “all of the above” energy strategy.  We must utilizes our resources as an economic advantage, cut our dependence on foreign oil, explore alternative fuels and tap American innovation along the way.

    Instead of working with us, Democrats would rather hold hearings ad nauseum, tell Americans to “drive small cars and wait for the wind.”

    I’ll let you decide who is giving this issue the attention it deserves. And, maybe do a “wind” dance in the mean time.


    The Hill
    Energy Bill Out of Gas

    By Jared Allen and Mike Soraghan
    July 8, 2008

    House Democrats are in a bind on the focal point of their energy plan.

    Worried that a floor vote on any energy-related measure would trigger a Republican-forced vote on domestic drilling, the leadership has scrubbed the floor schedule of the energy legislation that it vowed to tackle after the Fourth of July recess.

    Just before leaving for their districts, a number of House Democrats called a press conference to declare victory on a number of energy bills — including overwhelming passage of a bill to rein in excessive oil market speculation.

    Democrats declared victory on a bill they failed to pass on the suspension calendar — their “use it or lose it bill” to force energy companies to either start drilling on their federally leased land or give it back — saying they had put 176 Republicans on record as siding with the oil companies over consumers.

    And they vowed that the bill, the centerpiece of their energy message, would be back.

    “We’ve taken some bold steps this week, and we’re going to build on that [after recess] with the bills we take up,” Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman John Larson (Conn.) said at the press conference.

    But, as of Monday afternoon, neither “use it or lose it” nor any other energy measure had been scheduled for floor action this week.

    Democrats said they were simply taking a different approach to passing their top energy-related priorities.

    Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said energy activity this week is taking place at the committee level, noting that there are four hearings planned on the issue of speculation in oil trading.

    “Different members have different ideas,” Elshami said. “We’ll bring forward the best piece of legislation based on the recommendations and hearings we are having this week.”

    Republicans pounced, saying Democrats were backtracking after realizing they would be unable to defeat a Republican vote on increased domestic oil drilling in new areas.

    “It’s panic time for Democrats,” said a senior Republican aide. “They are on the wrong side of three-quarters of the American people who support increased production of American-made energy.”

    While Democrats were in their districts advocating their plans to end gas price-gouging, rein in speculation, pass “use it or lose it” and even call for President Bush to release millions of barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), Republicans were touting polls showing that a healthy majority of Americans now support increased domestic energy production.

    That is proving to be a particular concern for Democrats in that any non-suspension-calendar energy vote would be subject to a Republican alternative, almost certainly calling for offshore and Arctic drilling, that would very likely pass.

    “If we could send deepwater drilling over, it would pass the Senate,” said a Republican leadership aide, highlighting just how much an energy vote could backfire on Democrats.

    A senior Democratic leadership aide acknowledged this week that there are plenty of members of the majority caucus “who want to drill and want to drill where Republicans want to drill.”

    Even if Democratic leaders could beat back a GOP motion on drilling, the vote could be used as political ammunition against their vulnerable members this fall.

    The Democratic setbacks come after they scored a political victory this spring when they overwhelmingly passed an SPR bill over initial White House objections. But Republicans now claim they have the upper hand, noting that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is citing drilling repeatedly on the campaign trail.

    Further complicating matters for Democrats is the growing number of pro-drilling Democrats who are becoming increasingly worried that voters might throw them in with their anti-drilling leadership.

    One pro-drilling Democrat predicted that the backlash against Congress for gas prices could rival the outrage voters felt about the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

    Another, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), is frustrated at not being listened to.

    “My concern with my leadership is that they’re not letting all the people in the room to present the facts,” said Melancon, a proponent of more offshore drilling. “Where are all the pro-oil legislators? I’m not in the room. I don’t know who is. My feeling is we are not being all-inclusive to pass legislation that can get through the Senate and avoid a veto.”

    For now, though, there will be no legislation to pass, as the only energy-related action this week will occur at the committee level.

    Republicans may try to continue a strategy they demonstrated before recess by forcing drilling votes as energy amendments to bills being considered at the committee level, including appropriations bills.

    And Republicans may go one step further by trying to get amendments added to the energy and water appropriations bill, a likely contender to see the floor this week.

    “We’re going to demand a pro-production energy vote before Congress goes home for the month of August,” said House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.). “We’ve tried to highlight efforts to solve America’s energy problem a thousand ways to Sunday, and [Democrats] keep pulling them from committee, pulling them from the floor and kicking the can down the road.”

    Exactly when Democrats will change their present course and bring an energy bill to the floor remains uncertain.

    “Right now, our strategy on gas prices is ‘Drive small cars and wait for the wind,’ ” said a Democratic aide.


  • Who will they blame next?
    Jun 16, 2008  -

    Democrats seem to have come full circle in the last few months on the crucial issue of record-high gas prices. They started out blaming oil companies and their CEOs, then they moved down the list to speculators and price gougers and even settled on Republicans for a few days. But, now they are back to square one – the oil companies.

    Democrats say Congress shouldn’t open up land for domestic energy production because oil companies already have access to land and aren’t using it. Before we look at the facts of that assertion, let’s look at the economics. Oil is at an all time high – well over $135 a barrel. If ever there existed a time and circumstance when an oil company would want to produce as much oil as it could – it would be right now, when it could expect to get the highest return for it. Even the Saudi Arabians are making plans to increase their oil production in the coming weeks -- to the highest level of output in more than 25 years.

    But, that’s exactly what Democrats would have you believe oil companies are doing: squatting on oil reserves to artificially inflate prices higher than the already inconceivable (and likely unsustainable) mark of $140.

    Consistent with that fundamental misunderstanding, Democrats have announced their intention to introduce what they’re calling “Use it or Lose it” legislation – a catchy phrase that goes against all economic reason and threatens to take away what little energy access we’ve got from those with the capabilities to produce it. Naturally, Democrats are advocating this position without even checking the facts -- because if they did, it’s a good bet they would’ve realized their so-called “Use it or Lose it” plan is already the current law.

    Indeed, federal energy lease holders already must produce oil or natural gas within five to 10 years depending on the circumstances – and the Secretary of the Interior can cancel that lease if energy companies fail to comply. Title 30, Subsection 188(a) and (b) of the United States Code, “any lease … may be forfeited and canceled … whenever the lessee fails to comply with any provisions of this chapter, of the lease, or of the general regulations … Any lease … shall be subject to cancellation by the Secretary of the Interior after 30 days notice upon failure of the lessee to comply with any of the provisions of the lease….”

    Once an oil company is granted a lease, that isn’t a green light to drill – far from it. Instead, it sets in motion a time-consuming process of red tape, paperwork and public review – a process Republicans have long attempted to update and streamline. Think of it like building a home. Just because you buy a lot doesn’t mean you can start digging the foundation that day. You have to hire contractors, get permits, and draw plans up well before you even consider drape designs and paint colors.

    Instead of opening up our natural energy resources both on land and in deep ocean energy reserves – areas with known oil and gas supplies – and creating jobs in the process, Democrats have resorted back to pointing fingers, assigning blame and once again doing nothing to solve the problem in a substantive manner.


  • Investor’s Business Daily on Energy Prices
    Jun 10, 2008  - The Gouge Party

    Investor’s Business Daily
    EDITORIAL; Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Energy: America was saved Tuesday from a Democratic Congress determined to do more damage to our economy and raise oil prices still higher. Energy taxes and eco-extremism make Democrats the real oil gougers.

    The most absurd provision in the thoroughly ridiculous energy package offered by Senate Democrats this week was to make price gouging on oil and gas a federal crime, punishable by a fine of $5 million if an energy emergency has been declared by the president at the time of such price fixing.

    Democrats are, in effect, publicly warning the nation's oilmen that the next time they beat their wives they'll be sorry.

    Dozens of investigations over the decades have not produced a scintilla of evidence that there has ever been any kind of Big Oil conspiracy to set gasoline prices. And dozens of states already have laws making gouging illegal.

    What, unfortunately, is not illegal is Congress' ability to gouge motorists and natural gas and heating oil consumers by preventing us from extracting more of our own oil and gas.

    Democratic senators failed on Tuesday to get the 60 votes needed on a bill to impose a 25% windfall profit tax on oil companies, as well as rescind tax incentives purportedly worth $17 billion over a decade. Those breaks, by the way, are helping to expand U.S. oil refinery capacity.

    But Democrats want to punish a handful of the biggest U.S. firms, giving foreign oil companies an edge over them, and have the government spend the $17 billion on windmills and solar panels.

    Imagine the Mideast's oil-rich terrorist sponsor states, along with a Big Oil Marxist thug like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, watching America's self-destructive refusal to utilize our own domestic oil and gas.

    How weak they must consider us when nearly a half dozen Republican senators, including John Warner of Virginia and Charles Grassley of Iowa, vote to treat those who provide our economy's lifeblood as if they were evil.

    Our enemies see that the party that may gain control of the presidency in November can't even remember how windfall profit taxes under Jimmy Carter over a quarter-century ago devastated our economy by depressing domestic output and boosting imports.

    On top of saving the country from the Democrats' new energy taxes, congressional Republicans are putting forward some smart remedies for our dangerous foreign oil dependence.

    House Minority Leader John Boehner is touting Rep. Mac Thornberry's No More Excuses bill to use tax exempt bonds to encourage new oil refinery construction, make federal lands available for new refineries, lift Congress' ban on drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf (with its estimated 17 billion barrels of oil), open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, and encourage new nuclear plants with tax incentives.

    Meanwhile, Rep. John Peterson will try to amend the Interior Department spending bill in the House Appropriations Committee this week to open America's deep-sea reserves, which have been off-limits for nearly three decades and which contain 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

    Killing the geese that provide our economy with black gold is no answer to high energy prices. Developing more of our own energy is vital not just for relief at the pump, but for our national security in the global war on terror. At least one party in Congress gets it.


  • Here's Our Energy Agenda... Where's their plan?
    May 21, 2008  -
    For the 14th day in a row, gas prices have reached a new high.  They topped the chart at $3.80 a gallon today, and as they did House Republicans took to the steps of the Capitol to announce their plan -- a plan that has the potential to cut gas to below $2 a gallon.

    Here is a break down of our plan:

    Republican Plan to Lower Gas Prices              Savings
    Bring U.S. onshore oil online (ANWR)             $0.70 - $1.60
    Bring U.S. deepwater oil online (OCS)             $0.90 - $2.50
    Bring new oil refineries online                            $0.15 - $0.45
    Cut earmarks to fund gas tax holiday                 $0.18
    Halt oil shipments to SPR                                  $0.05
    Savings (at least): $1.98

    Where is the Democrats' promised "common-sense" plan? 

    This is what it looks like to me:
    Democrat Plan to Lower Gas Prices                Savings
    Sue OPEC $0.00
    Launch 7th investigation into “Price Gougers”     $0.00
    Launch 4th investigation into “Speculators”         $0.00
    $20 billion in new taxes on oil producers             (debit)
    Halt Oil Shipments to SPR                                 $0.05
    Savings (at most): $0.05

    American families are tired of paying the Pelosi Premium -- Republicans think they deserve more than the over-promising and under-delivering the Democrats have given.  We have a plan to help. 


  • Lawyers, Lenders and La Raza
    May 6, 2008  -

        Last month, my fellow House Republicans and I unveiled a series of housing principles to guide future legislation that supports homeownership, protects taxpayers, helps victims and lowers taxes on American families.  And today, we announced those proposals.  Our legislation will address the unstable housing market in a reasonable and responsible way without bailing out scam-artists and speculators.

        The two pieces of legislation authored by Congressmen Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) respectively follow the basic principles of fairness and responsibility, while encouraging homeownership.

        The two Republican bills together represent a viable alternative, offering an appropriate response to a serious problem without hanging taxpayers out to dry while taking care of lawyers, lenders and La Raza.  

    Terry’s legislation – which will be introduced today – offers market-based incentives rather than a taxpayer-funded bailout.  The bill would help stabilize house prices, reduce housing inventory, and provide incentives to buyers by offering a tax credit for homebuyers for 10% of the home’s purchase price – up to $10,000.  Homes purchased within a year of the bill’s enactment are eligible for the credit, but it would not apply to taxpayers who are non-resident aliens, flip a home within the one year period, or sell a house to a relative simply for the credit.

        Bachus’s Homeownership Protection and Housing Market Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 5857), which was introduced April 22nd, would protect consumers from disreputable mortgage practices and modernize FHA.  His bill would also help veterans by temporarily raising loan limits for VA housing loans, and doubling foreclosure protections for returning veterans.

        While Republicans acted responsibly, consistent with the needs and interests of the vast majority of American homeowners, Democrats were busy crafting legislation driven by headlines and political perceptions – rewarding irresponsibility, creating a $35 million trial lawyer slush fund and earmarking $15 million to a subgroup of LaRaza for housing counseling.



  • Why are House Democrats so Afraid of an Open Debate?
    Apr 30, 2008  -
    In November 2006, soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that her “leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.” Now, almost a year and a half after she issued that proclamation, today might be a good time to remind her of that promise to the American people. After all, her actions do more than exclude House Republicans and many Democrats from having a meaningful say, more importantly they exclude the millions of American families that Members of Congress represent from having any voice in Washington at all. And, most egregious of all, the Democrats are choosing to deploy these heavy-handed tactics and play politics with a must-pass spending bill for our fighting men and women in the field.

    House Democrats next week plan on bringing to the floor the 37th supplemental spending bill that Congress has considered in nearly 20 years. The glaring difference between this supplemental and the other 36, though, is that this will be the only controversial one brought to the floor without going through the House Appropriations Committee and without bi-partisan sign-off.

    The last supplemental considered under a Republican majority in 2006 saw floor votes on 27 Democratic amendments and 23 amendments by the Republicans. None of those supplementals shut out alternatives and opposition at every step of the way – in committee, on the floor, and in conference committee.

    That Speaker Pelosi has chosen to close Republicans out of the process may fit well with her penchant for power and fear of holding up her priorities to scrutiny. But what’s surprising is that those 27amendments offered by Democrats is 27 more than their own leadership is allowing them now. Is Speaker Pelosi attempting to pass this bill without a peep of opposition because it contains items so unambiguously offensive that they couldn’t even stand the scrutiny from her fellow Democrats?

    In a letter to Appropriations Chairman Obey, Ranking Member Lewis wrote, “In our brief meeting on April 17th, you assured me that the Appropriations Committee would not abdicate to your leadership its responsibility to write the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill…Let me be perfectly clear: Any attempt to bypass the full Committee and move the Emergency Supplemental directly to the House floor will be met with the unified opposition of Committee Republicans.”

    Ranking Member Lewis isn’t the only member of Congress to raise an objection; the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Robert Byrd, rightfully ignored the Speakers attempts to roll Congress and called a Senate mark-up of the supplemental. That same day, Congress Daily AM said Democratic leaders were “considering using the never-enacted Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) Military Construction Appropriations bill as a vehicle for the war supplemental.” Such a procedural tactic would eliminate the only available opportunity for Republicans, and the constituents we serve, to offer their input on this critical supplemental troop-funding bill. It also ensures the Democrat-majority can bog this must pass bill down with whatever special interest provisions they chose. This should hardly be a surprise when you consider the Speaker’s choice for House Majority Leader John Murtha’s position and proclivity for adding unrelated spending to almost any bill that passes the House.

    Clearly, Chairman Obey has gone back on his word and Speaker Pelosi has forgotten her promise to the American people by presiding over anything that remotely resembles an open or ethical Congress. What is even more shameful than that, though, is they chose to waste time using these unprecedented tactics on a bill that must pass immediately. “The courageous men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces and diplomatic corps are in danger of running short of equipment and supplies and other means necessary to fulfill their mission of safeguarding and defending the United States at home and abroad,” reads a letter from Senate Republican Appropriators to Chairman Byrd.  In a press release, Byrd said he agreed with their concerns. 

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer agreed that the military will start sending out furlough notices and exhaust their funds by June. This bill will prevent our soldiers from being stranded in a war zone or their families from running out of money. Instead of passing a supplemental, Speaker Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics have ensured its defeat.

    Not long after Speaker-Elect Pelosi promised her open, honest and ethical Congress, she also promised “civility and respect.” She’s shown that to her special interest groups – it’s time she starts to show it to our troops.


  • Stroll Down "Energy Lane" - Flashback to 2006
    Apr 24, 2008  -

    Flashback - April 24, 2006

    Two years ago today, then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued the following statement:
    “Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices …”

    * * *
    For a little more reminiscing, just look at the price of energy the day she made that statement.  Compare that with today.

    Crude Oil, 4/24/06: $64.00         Crude Oil, 4/24/08: $117.40
    Natural Gas, 4/24/06: $6.38         Natural Gas, 4/24/08: $10.79
    Gasoline, 4/24/06: $2.96       Gasoline, 4/24/08: $3.56
    Heating Oil, 4/24/06: $2.71      Heating Oil, 4/24/08: $3.31
    Diesel, 4/24/06:$2.87       Diesel, 4/24/08: $4.14

    * * *
    Similar to the question those little ladies in that Wendy's commercial asked more than 20 years ago, Americans are asking "Where's the Relief?"



  • Agenda? What's that?
    Apr 15, 2008  -

    House Agenda Creeps Along

    April 15, 2008
    By Lauren W. Whittington

    The above article left me scratching my head. 

    I'm not sure about House Democrats, but I think my constituents sent me to Washington to get things done.  We shouldn't wait for an election or a new Congress to act.  There is legislation that can become law today ranging from border security to national security if Democrats would simply put politics aside and get to work.  After all, isn't that what they promised their voters back home?

    And, as for their accomplishments last year, not sure that's a long list of things I'd want to tout to my voters in "bitter" middle-America. 


  • Dems Resort to Patent Falsehoods
    Apr 8, 2008  - In talking points distributed by the House Democratic Caucus today, the majority’s leadership again refuses to face the facts regarding Senator John McCain’s comments on his commitment to seeing our troops return from Iraq successful.

    During a town hall meeting in New Hampshire this January, Senator McCain was asked about President Bush’s comments that American troops could still be in Iraq for 50 years. McCain responded, drawing from his extensive military service, with this:

    “Make it 100. We’ve been in South Korea . . . we’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, that’s fine with me. I hope that would be fine with you, if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al-Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day.”

    The attacks on Sen. McCain’s commitment to our national security were quickly seized on and taken out of context by Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Just as quickly, however, came the denunciations from the media elite – historically, no friend of Republicans – for the duplicitous comments Democratic presidential hopefuls had continued to propagate at Sen. McCain’s expense.

    Sen. McCain’s position on Iraq is well known; as is his commitment to returning our troops home safe, secure and successful – on the terms of generals, not of our enemies. That the House Democratic Caucus would find it necessary to distort that position, at best – and outright lie about it at worst – says an awful lot about the underhanded methods they’re willing to employ. And perhaps it says even more about the level of desperation they’re encountering in trying to tear down an American hero.”

    The Columbia Journalism Review characterized the attacks as “seriously misleading voters—if not outright lying to them—about exactly what McCain said.”

    Now that Senators Clinton and Obama have back-peddled and the media has debunked the attacks, is it too much to ask that House Democrats finally stop the mudslinging?


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