U.S. Senator John Hoeven Delivers Weekly Republican Address
‘President Obama has been traveling and giving interviews on the consequences of the sequester…The fact is: Republicans in Congress, right now, will provide the flexibility to make the necessary spending reductions and address our deficit and debt, instead of going through the sequester. In fact, House Republicans have already passed two bills to replace the President’s sequester. So the question is: Why won’t he work with us? And the answer, quite simply, is because he wants higher taxes.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The President and Senate Democrats are deploying poll-tested gimmicks to raise taxes on energy production instead of solving our nation’s most pressing problem: Washington’s spending addiction. In the Weekly Republican Address, U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), says that, “For the better part of the week, President Obama has been traveling and giving interviews on the consequences of the sequester…” Yet, Hoeven continues, “…it was President Obama who proposed—and promoted—the sequester.” While the President blames Congress for the sequester, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed two bills to avert it. In addition to the President’s effort to raise taxes, he is blocking an American project that will create jobs and get the economy growing—the Keystone XL pipeline. Sen. Hoeven asks, “Why, Mr. President, are you blocking a project that the American people support overwhelmingly?” The Weekly Republican Address is available in both audio and video format and is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, February 23, 2013. The audio of the address is available here, the video will be available here and you may download the address here. A full transcript of the address follows:
“Hi, I’m Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota. I’d like to talk to you today about the pending sequester and the need to address our debt and deficit, while creating jobs and economic growth at this critical time in our history.
“For the better part of the week, President Obama has been traveling and giving interviews on the consequences of the sequester, which is an across-the-board cut in federal discretionary spending.
“He blames Congress for the sequester, but Bob Woodward, in his book, The Price of Politics, sets the record straight.
“Woodward says it was President Obama who proposed—and promoted—the sequester.
“The fact is: Republicans in Congress, right now, will provide the flexibility to make the necessary spending reductions and address our deficit and debt, instead of going through the sequester. In fact, House Republicans have already passed two bills to replace the President’s sequester.
“So the question is: Why won’t he work with us? And the answer, quite simply, is because he wants higher taxes.
“But the right way to address our deficit and debt, and get past the sequester, is not higher taxes or just better spending control.
“It’s by creating jobs, growing the economy, and expanding the tax base.
“I was a governor for ten years. Ask any governor in the country. They’ll tell you that you have to figure out how to prioritize spending and make necessary reductions to balance the budget. No question about it.
“But above all, you have to get the economy growing. That creates jobs and revenue from economic growth, not higher taxes.
“President Obama, however, not only wants higher taxes; he’s actually preventing economic growth and private-sector job creation. He is blocking it with more regulation, red tape, and bureaucracy. Let me give you a clear case in point.
“The President spoke expansively in his State of the Union address about a lot of things that sound good in a speech, but he made no mention about one of the most import projects on his desk—the Keystone XL pipeline.
“The Keystone XL project will carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries. That includes not only oil from Alberta, Canada, but also 100,000 barrels per day of light, sweet crude from the U.S. Bakken region in Montana and my home state of North Dakota.
“The project will:
-Create tens of thousands of jobs
-Lift our economy
-Help keep down the cost of fuel
-Reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and
-Raise hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to address our nation’s deficit and debt—all without a single penny of taxpayer money and with better environmental stewardship than if we don’t build the project.
“In fact, the President acknowledged in his State of the Union address that ‘no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.’
“And he’s right about that, in terms of both the economy and jobs.
“Two years ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report showing that nationwide, 351 major energy projects—both traditional and renewable—are languishing because of regulatory barriers.
“On a human level, that represents a loss of $1.1 trillion and 1.9 million jobs to the American economy. Yet the President continues to block these projects. In the case of the Keystone XL he’s blocked it for almost five years.
“Mr. President, it takes more than a sound bite to get the economy going, but in this case, all it will take is your signature.
“And the American people would be with you.
“A Harris Poll released just a week ago showed that nearly 70 percent of Americans support the Keystone XL pipeline project. Just as many say they support importing more oil from Canada. Only 17 percent oppose the project.
“Why, Mr. President, are you blocking a project that the American people support overwhelmingly? Clearly, it appears to be because of special interest groups.
“Last week, actress Daryl Hannah and other celebrity activists were arrested for hand-cuffing themselves to the White House fence in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.
“The real question then, Mr. President, is: Are you going to respect the will and wisdom of a majority of the American people and approve the Keystone XL pipeline—or are you going to submit to the will of vocal, special interest groups? Hollywood activists don’t have to worry about energy prices or a weekly paycheck, but working families do.
“Gas prices have reached a historic high for February, $3.71 a gallon, taking a larger bite out of the paychecks of working families across the country.
“Also, we recently learned that the unemployment rate in January ticked back up to 7.9 percent—where it has been mired for four years. And rather than grow as predicted, our economy actually shrank in the last quarter of 2012. More than 12 million people are still looking for work.
“Mr. President, if we empower our people and unleash the power of investment and innovation, we will get what all Americans agree we want and need—jobs, a dynamic economy, stable fuel prices, and real reduction in our deficit and debt—without raising taxes. And the Keystone XL project is just one example of how we get there. There are many more.
“It’s time to do things differently, Mr. President. It’s time to turn our country around with the right approach, and we stand ready to work with you to do it.
“That means empowering our people and encouraging private investment. A growing economy, combined with thoughtful, bipartisan spending reforms, will truly address our debt and deficit, and get our country back on track again.
“Thank you and God bless America.”