December 16, 2009
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)
All across this nation, families and businesses are struggling to make ends meet. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and many more worry that they will be next. But Americans are meeting these times with courage and by putting first things first, at least everywhere but the White House.
It is astonishing that in the midst of the worst recession in 26 years, this administration and Democrat leaders continue to advance job-killing proposals like the national energy tax and will carry that message to the global warming convention in Copenhagen.
Rather than making a priority of creating jobs, the president plans to attend negotiations at the United Nation’s convention on climate change in Denmark. This decision is wrong on several levels. The administration’s participation in the Copenhagen negotiations raises a number of concerns that the president should address before catching his flight.
A primary concern is the impact a global cap and tax system will have on our economy. In June, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would mandate carbon emission reductions amounting to a national energy tax. While there is still a lot of uncertainty about how much the average American household will pay if this national energy tax becomes law, perhaps the best estimate came from President Obama himself.
In 2008, then-Senator Obama said, “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” He went on to say that the costs will be passed “on to consumers.”
When President Obama said energy rates will “necessarily skyrocket,” I believed him. And I believe that is a prescription for economic decline. Skyrocketing electricity rates are unacceptable and it’s a high price to pay for a plan that will not even achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions.
Various experts have detailed the near impossibility of reaching the high levels of carbon reduction that will be discussed in Copenhagen. Efforts to meet these targets will destroy any hope for an economic recovery and may lead to a deeper recession. As I told the president in the West Wing last week, in Copenhagen he must make it clear that he will not enter into any agreement that raises utility rates on working families.
Also, the president must respect the will of Congress and the American people in Copenhagen. According to comments by Todd Stern, the president’s special envoy on climate change, U.S. negotiators will “work towards a political agreement” on mandatory carbon emissions reductions.
You do not sign a treaty before you declare war. It is inappropriate for the President of the United States to enter into international negotiations or an agreement on global warming in the absence of a national consensus. The president and his administration must not enter the United States into any binding agreement in Denmark.
Finally, America should not commit to limitations on our economy while developing countries protect their growing economies against international climate caps. Why would we put American workers at a disadvantage with their foreign competitors? The president should make it clear to the world that the United States will not play Gulliver to their Lilliputian ambitions in the name of climate change.
Twelve years ago, during a year when more than three million new jobs were created, the United States Senate rejected a similar global climate agreement by an overwhelming vote of 95 to zero. The fear was that it would inflict serious harm on a strong economy. What does it say to the American people, that during a deep recession, our president is pushing ahead with a similar global warming treaty?
Rather than being ignored by an international organization meeting halfway around the world, the American people deserve to have their voices heard in Washington. They expect their best interests to be pursued by their elected leaders, not bargained away by foreign diplomats at the United Nations. The American people have the right to debate and decide this issue here at home, without an arbitrary deadline set in Copenhagen.
Mr. President, in the name of working families and their duly elected representatives in Congress, don’t make promises in Copenhagen that the American people cannot and should not keep.
Originally posted December 16, 2009 on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com.