Six Texas Congressional Democrats Warn Against Obama's Energy Plan

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Yes, you read that headline correctly.

Although U.S. Reps. Gene Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, Charlie Gonzales, Al Green, Ciro Rodriguez and Henry Cuellar, all Democrats from Texas, stressed that they “support President Obama's goals to end our addiction to foreign oil, invest in clean, renewable energy and transition to a low-carbon economy,” the five congressman warned that the President's proposals could curb domestic energy production.

The group, who were joined by six other House Democratic colleagues, sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Rep. John Spratt, chairman of the House Budget Committee. The committee is expected to begin considering President Obama's budget today.

Personally I was inclined to agree with President Obama's proposals. This is what the Democrats who disagree are worried about, from the San Antonio Express-News article “Texas Dems say energy is at risk”:

Obama’s budget would bar deductions for intangible drilling costs, block oil and natural gas companies from claiming domestic manufacturing deductions and repeal the percentage depletion for wells. It also would impose new use-it-or-lose-it style fees on inactive drilling leases on public lands.

Administration officials have argued that the incentives encourage reliance on polluting fossil fuels while draining federal coffers.

they told Spratt [that]the U.S. needs an all-inclusive energy policy that recognizes the role of natural gas and oil. And they are concerned that some of the proposed tax increases could hurt “domestic energy production and job growth,” while disproportionately affecting small and independent producers.

Do you think these six congressman are right or should they have stood with President Obama on his energy proposals?


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  1. You could be a “Reactionary Liberal”
    Newt Gingrich is organizing a ferocious 1994-style counter-attack on Democrats in Congress, starting with his “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” theme introduced in Houston late last summer. That immediately put a measurable but temporary dent in the Obama/McCain lead.

    He will attribute whatever the pump-price of gas is just a few weeks before the 2010 election — up, down, or the same — (a) to the success of GOP rhetoric at intimidating Democratic Congress into relaxing some offshore drilling bans or (b) to the failure of the Democratic Congress to go whole hog. Either way, it is that easy to beat stupid, lazy, and utterly predictable Democrats who cannot figure out whether to be function as an opposition or ruling party instead of just a rabble of perpetual office-seekers.

    That is how Gingrich thrashed half-a-loaf, “all politics is local”, undisciplined Congressional Democrats in 1994.

    The tax loopholes and royalty abatements at issue above are petty favors Congressional Democrats have done for the oil & gas lobbyists for over a half century without regard to any plan or the commodity-price, rig-count, or anything but the election cycle itself.

    “National Security!” “Economic Recovery!”

    Any old slogan or sooey will do for the lobby and its fat pigs. This is ritual, not policy.

    Yes, the oil & gas lobby takes care of Texas Democrats individually, except when somebody like Gingrich wipes out entire ranks of what he calls “reactionary liberals” all across the South mostly. In that case, the oil & gas lobby ponies up even more money for the GOP than usual and saves on what was never more than just a “hedge” bet on a few Democrats anyway.

    It is reasonable for all Democrats to study, critique, and propose alternatives to any administration bill. It is far from clear that this administration has a clear, coherent, or comprehensive energy plan yet. Do Texas Democrats have an Energy + Environment platform! No. Do knee-jerk liberals, knee-jerk centrists, knee-jerk conservatives?


    So, be warned: Newt Gingrich has a “strategy”. He is a half-baked genius who sat through one day of John Boyd's two-day Patterns of Conflict seminar. He is wicked-good at slogans, and that has proven effective in “rolling-up” the sort of history-free, policy-neutral, sauve qu'il peut, “targeted campaigns” for individual seats of easily routed Democrats favored by mercenary pimp-consultants who live off of lobby-money.

    So, the oil & gas lobby will hedge a little money on, say, a “safe seat” or “cheap seat” Democrat in a district crafted for him or her by Tom DeLay. But, they will dump many times that amount in the Gingrich/Rove counter-attack that is looming now.

    It will take better Democrats and deeper strategy to deal with that in Texas than anything I see here now.


  2. in terms of Cuellar
    While I can't speak to the other MoC's directly, I can give you some insight re: Cuellar.

    Cuellar has been working for over a year with several agencies to get a $1 billion wind farm approved in the RGV and supports all of Obama's new policies to increase renewable energy production.

    Our issue is that some of the changes could cause folks in our district to lose jobs. Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Starr counties all are huge petroleum producers.  Zapata County (if I remember correctly) is the top natural gas producer in the State.

    As I understand it, Cuellar is supporting the President on virtually every policy proposal. I think there is a sense of obligation to look out for jobs in his district…particularly those that produce huge volumes of natural gas…a clean burning energy source.

    Just wanted to provide a little insight, I can talk to him and get more info if anyone needs/wants it.

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