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[Congressional Record: October 28, 2000 (House)]
[Page H11457-H11462]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                               ACT, 2001

  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer the motion to instruct that 
I presented yesterday pursuant to clause 7(c) of rule XXII.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Pease). The Clerk will report the 
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Ms. DeLauro moves that the managers on the part of the 
     House at the conference on the disagreeing votes of the two 
     Houses on the bill, H.R. 4577, be instructed to insist on the 
     highest funding level possible for the Low Income Home Energy 
     Assistance Program in FY 2001 and FY 2002.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young) 
each will be recognized for 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro).

                              {time}  1100

  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, we had a very cold winter this past winter, and not only 
people in my community, but people all across this country, seniors and 
working families, saw their budgets stretched to the limit, making 
choices between food and heat and rent and heat and other kinds of 
cruel choices that they should not have to make.
  Last winter, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP, 
provided critical assistance to low-income families facing skyrocketing 
home heating oil prices. Eligible families were able to receive 
assistance and to defray high heating costs. LIHEAP has proven to be 
one of the most important safety nets that this government offers to 
low-income families. However, this program is chronically underfunded. 
Since 1995, there has been approximately a 35 percent drop in the 
number of households that receive LIHEAP assistance, due to a reduction 
in funding levels.
  Mr. Speaker, winter is just around the corner. These same groups are 
confronted again with high energy prices. Home heating oil prices are 
projected to rise an estimated 50 percent, and natural gas is expected 
to increase 40 percent. Winter bills are likely to increase $290 more 
than last winter, which was the warmest on record.
  When the average recipient is the poorest of the poor, those 
averaging a household income of less than $10,000 per year, these costs 
are unconscionable. Households are forced to pay high energy costs, 
will be forced to reduce those budgets again, for food, for medicine 
and other household necessities. Current funding levels will not 
sustain the large rise in energy costs. As a result, additional LIHEAP 
funds are needed to allow the program to purchase the same amount of 
home energy as was purchased last year.
  As elected officials, we do not have the ability to manipulate 
weather projections to prevent a harsh winter, though we kind of think 
we can do whatever we would like to do. We are in a position, however, 
where we can use the offices that we have to increase funding for a 
proven program that will provide one of the most basic needs. The 
President did the right thing a month ago by releasing $400 million in 
emergency LIHEAP funds. I urge my colleagues to do the same: fund 
LIHEAP at an adequate level to make sure that those vulnerable groups 
have the means to keep themselves warm this winter and next; funded at 
the level of $550 million and also, that we forward-fund for $1.6 
billion for the year 2002.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the gentlewoman that we do intend 
to support this motion to instruct, but before we get to that point and 
actually formally accept it, I wanted to point out that we have already 
agreed to fund the LIHEAP program above the President's request, not 
only for this year, but for next year as well. The LIHEAP program was 
fully funded in the preliminary conference agreement at the President's 
requested level of $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2001, plus an 
additional $300 million for any emergency that might develop. With 
recent negotiations, we added another $300 million to this program, 
bringing the total funding for fiscal year 2001 to $1.7 billion. We 
have agreed to advance-fund another $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2002, 
so that States will be able to adequately plan for next year. The 
President requested only $1.1 billion for next year, so we again are 
above the President's request.
  We have also provided an additional $600 million in the fiscal year 
2000 supplemental bill this past spring, the same amount requested by 
the President for emergency spending in this program for this year 
because of the recent increases in fuel prices. So we have really gone 
above and beyond the President's request; but we understand the 
importance of this program, and we do not want any to suffer through 
the winter without adequate heat, and we are not going to allow that to 
  I might also say that there are some States where an extremely hot 
summer also causes severe problems, and deaths occur because of 
excessive heat, and we are not going to allow that to happen. We are 
also going to provide cooling assistance for those people who are 
exposed to that type of temperature fluctuation.
  So the gentlewoman and I, I think, are together on this; and I think 
both sides of the aisle are together on this, so we are more than happy 
to accept her motion to instruct.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I thank the gentleman; and I might just add that that while, in fact, 
the President did put in $1.1 billion, there are a number of us who 
also spoke not only with the majority party here, but also with the 
President about increasing those dollars, because of the fact that, 
particularly those of us who in the Northeast and some other places 
where we have extremely cold winters, that, in fact, what we needed to 
do was to see those numbers increased.
  The other reason why we have moved in this direction is because, in 
fact, over the years, this program has been dreadfully undercut in 
terms of costs, and there has also been the reluctance to forward-fund 
to the following year, which is critically important in order for us to 
move forward.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. 
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me 
this time, and I thank her for bringing forth this very, very important 
  It is no secret that in this country we are facing a major energy 
crisis. It is no secret that the price of home heating oil, propane, 
kerosene, natural gas has been increasing very, very substantially. It 
is also no secret that we are the richest country in the history of the 
world, and that it would be an absolute outrage if any senior citizen, 
if any low-income American went cold this winter or had to take funds 
from their food budget in order to pay the heating bill. This is 
America, and elderly people should not go cold or should not go hungry.
  Last month, I authored two letters signed by over 100 Members of 
Congress, including 20 Republicans, and the first letter urged the 
President to immediately release $400 million in emergency LIHEAP 
funding to deal with the energy crisis we are currently facing, and I 
am grateful that the

[[Page H11458]]

President did that. The second letter urged Congress to increase 
funding for LIHEAP by 50 percent, from $1.1 billion to $1.65 billion 
for both fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2002, and that is what we are 
discussing here right now.
  The issue is one of priorities. There are people in the Congress who 
have voted for huge tax breaks for the richest 2 percent of the 
population. If people are prepared to vote for tax breaks for 
millionaires, we should be absolutely certain that no one in America 
goes cold this winter. Let us substantially increase funding for LIHEAP 
and ease the minds of elderly and lower-income Americans that this 
winter will not be a brutal one.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania (Mr. Goodling), who is chairman of the Committee on 
Education and the Workforce.
  Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Speaker, I, of course, rise in support of the Low-Income Energy 
Assistance Program, LIHEAP, that provides badly needed Federal energy 
assistance to the poor through funds to the States, permits States to 
help low-income individuals pay home heating or cooling bills, and pay 
for the low-cost weatherization of their homes.
  LIHEAP is a critical lifeline for low-income families, individuals 
with disabilities, and senior citizens. We have worked to ensure that 
the lifeline is strong enough to help those who are unable to afford 
the costs of heating their homes through the severe winter months and 
the costs of cooling their homes through the sweltering summer months.
  In fiscal year 1999, 3.4 million households received help with their 
heating bills, and 748,000 households received winter crisis aid. In 
addition, cooling aid was provided to an estimated 480,000 households, 
summer crisis aid to 194,000 households, and weatherization assistance 
to 87,000 households.
  It is important to keep in mind that the House already voted to 
appropriate $1.4 billion for 2001; and as the chairman said, the 
appropriators have gone well above what the President has requested. We 
have done our duty.
  Now, it is irresponsible, however, for this administration, for 8 
years, to fail to develop a coherent energy policy that would have 
addressed these skyrocketing costs associated with continued reliance 
on foreign oil. Would it not have been more appropriate for our 
Democrat colleagues to join with us in calling on this administration 
to get its collective head out of the sand on our long-term energy 
needs? As good as LIHEAP is in providing assistance, it is needed 
because fuel costs are not kept in check. Our fuel costs have not been 
kept in check because this administration will not come to terms with 
the long-term energy problems we continue to face.
  So, today we have before us a short-term fix for a very long-term 
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute and 15 seconds for 
a question for the chairman.
  Mr. Speaker, in the gentleman's remarks, did he say included in the 
appropriations bill, which I understand we have not come to a vote on 
that bill yet, but that there was the $1.65 billion in forward-funding 
for the year 2002?
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, will the gentlewoman yield?
  Ms. DeLAURO. I yield to the gentleman from Florida.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, what I said was, and let me 
double-check that, we have agreed to advance-fund $1.4 billion.
  Ms. DeLAURO. So that it is not the $1.65 billion that would bring it 
up to the same level we are talking about?
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. No, if the gentlewoman will again yield, it is 
$1.4 billion. The President requested only $1.1 billion, so we went 
$300 million over the President's request.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, we are asking for 2001, and as I understand 
it, the gentleman said it was $1.7 billion for the year 2001. That must 
have been something that just happened, because it was not at that 
level earlier. But I am talking about the year 2002 in forward-funding, 
it is $1.4 billion.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, if the gentlewoman will yield, 
that is correct; and this is the amount that the administration agreed 
to and the minority agreed to.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman said $1.4 billion?
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Yes, Mr. Speaker.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Well, we are asking for $1.6 billion.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes and 10 seconds to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Moakley).
  Mr. MOAKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Connecticut 
(Ms. DeLauro) for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join the gentlewoman in calling on the 
Congress to appropriate $1.65 billion this year and next year for the 
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  Mr. Speaker, as many of my colleagues here today can tell us, there 
is a winter fuel crisis looming on the horizon; and we need to act, and 
we need to act immediately. With energy prices rising at record levels 
all over the Nation, we need to ensure that our most vulnerable 
citizens are able to get the heating oil that they need. The LIHEAP 
program helps seniors, helps working low-income families heat their 
homes in the winter and cool their homes in the summer.
  Mr. Speaker, without this assistance, many Americans would be forced 
to choose between heating and eating. Mr. Speaker, no one should ever 
have to make that choice. Because of OPEC's production cuts, our oil 
stocks are 30 million barrels below what they were last year, and even 
last year's supply was much too little.

                              {time}  1115

  It is no surprise that as a result of that low stock that the prices 
are as high as they are.
  Before senior citizens have to choose between buying groceries and 
paying their utility bills and before families discover that they 
cannot keep their children warm enough, my Republican colleagues need 
to act. For these people, heating their homes is not a luxury, Mr. 
Speaker. It is really a matter of life and death.
  It is a tremendous program. It is a very important program, but it is 
woefully underfunded. For the past 3 years, we have funded LIHEAP at 
the same flat level; and, Mr. Speaker, as anyone in Massachusetts can 
tell my colleagues, that level has not kept pace with either inflation 
or fuel costs.
  As a result, for the last 3 years, fewer and fewer eligible families 
have received assistance. If nothing changes, about 10 percent of the 
people who need help will get help. It is time this Congress acted to 
make sure people receive the LIHEAP help that they so desperately need, 
and I urge congressional appropriators to recognize how important 
LIHEAP is by including $1.65 million in this fiscal year.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. English).
  Mr. ENGLISH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida 
(Chairman Young) for yielding the time to me.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise as a long-time strong supporter of the LIHEAP 
program to support this motion. LIHEAP, indeed, has been underfunded 
for many, many years, and it is an important priority for this year to 
put more funding into LIHEAP.
  Let me reiterate the point that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Young) has already made, under the President's budget, he had proposed 
only to fund LIHEAP to the tune of $1.1 billion, plus $300 million for 
emergency funding. The position that had been worked out on our side of 
the aisle with some collaboration was that instead, we would put in 
$1.4 billion for the LIHEAP program, plus $300 million for emergency 
  Mr. Speaker, I think there is a strong case to be made for increasing 
beyond the $1.4 billion. But let us understand what is really at work 
here. As the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Goodling) noted, one of 
the real problems here is that we have a failed energy policy in this 
  We are anticipating this winter that energy costs are going to go 
through the roof; and that is going to have a huge impact on low-income 
households, seniors and others are going to be forced to choose between 
heating and eating, as the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Moakley) 
noted. That is because not only have we underfunded LIHEAP, but also 
because we have not placed regulatory policies that are antiproduction.

[[Page H11459]]

  We need to tackle this problem from a number of different directions. 
Yes, let us increase LIHEAP funding; but that in, itself, is no excuse 
for not having an energy policy in this country.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to say that one of the things that often does not 
come out in these debates is when people just make flat-out statements 
about energy policy in this country. The fact of the matter is, in 
1995, the Republican majority in this body cut the weatherization 
programs by about 50 percent. They continually underfund any kind of 
research and development into energy alternatives, biomass, wind, 
solar, et cetera; and then come out and talk about an energy policy.
  These are very, very big pieces of an energy policy, and which they 
have continuously, continuously undercut the President's request and 
other Members' request for these things.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Maine (Mr. 
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) for this resolution and for yielding me the 
time; and her leadership on these issues are greatly important as we 
address them on a national stage.
  The first thing I would like to address is the issue about funding. 
The $1.6 billion that is being discussed in this resolution and the 
$1.4 billion that was forward funding leaves a gap of $200 million, 
whether it was in the President's budget or it was in the negotiations 
or the discussions.
  The reality is people are paying $77 more per month higher than 
normal bills and, on average, are going to pay $464 for the season 
because more people are asking for the assistance in Maine. 50,000 
Maine households, 50,000 Maine families were given the help they needed 
to make ends meet. So the explosion in the numbers utilized, the cap 
agencies that have been trying to take the applications have a waiting 
list as long as you can see; and we are here not funding adequately to 
the level that we are funding this year.
  Mr. Speaker, recognizing that, on average, families are going to be 
paying $602 more for a heating season. In reference to an energy 
policy, I think it is highly ironic because every year the 
administration tries to raise the fuel efficiency standard in 
automobiles, there has always been a congressional earmark to prevent 
it from happening.
  When we tried to establish a Northeast Heating Oil Reserve, the 
leadership on the other side did not support it, dragged their heels, 
and did not even give the President the authority to release from the 
Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And I would argue, as a Northeasterner and 
many Northeasterners pay attention to fuel oil prices, it was almost 
reaching $40 a barrel when the President announced he was going to 
release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the prices are now 
$31 or $32 a barrel.
  So the actions that the President and the administration have been 
able to take through executive action have had an impact. The amount of 
money that has gone for emergency assistance has been helpful. It is 
now Congress' part, yet again, to do its responsibility in adequately 
funding LIHEAP to make sure that not only forward funding but forward 
funding to the levels that are necessary, and anybody that does not 
think the prices are going to increase is just fooling themselves.
  As a friend of mine used to say, they go up by telegraph but they 
come down by pony express; and if we do not recognize that we have to 
adequately fund it this year, then we are just fooling ourselves and 
putting it off for next year. I think together we should recognize that 
heating one's home, whether in Maine or anywhere else, is not a luxury.
  At every level, local, State and Federal, public servants should take 
the steps that are necessary to ensure that not a single resident, not 
a single resident is left out in the cold, and we should complete our 
work here today on the House floor.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I take this additional time to say one of the reasons 
that it has taken us so much time to conclude these negotiations is 
they cannot take yes for an answer. We agreed to this motion to commit. 
I said we are at $1.4 billion, which was the request of the minority 
and the President; and we agreed to the $1.4 billion.
  Now my colleagues are moving the goal post again. Now my colleagues 
are going to go to $1.6 billion. We are going to agree to the $1.6 
billion. But then are my colleagues going to come back and go to $1.8 
billion and $1.9 billon?
  Why do we not do this all at one time and save the time for 
  On gas prices, the great political move of releasing from our 
Strategic Petroleum Reserves was simply that, political, because, first 
of all, it was about worth a day and a half of our consumption in the 
United States.
  But let me tell my colleagues what happened. The oil was sold to a 
company who bought the oil and then turned around with a nice big 
profit and sold it again before it got to the refinery and the 
  Now, how did that affect those of us who put gasoline in our 
vehicles? It did not affect me. And I do not think it affected anybody 
in this Chamber, because when I buy gas and the people in my 
neighborhood buy gas, the price of gasoline did not go down one penny 
since the release of the oil reserve, maybe others in other parts of 
the country have better news than that.
  But I can tell my colleagues that my constituents did not save even a 
penny a gallon on the release, the political release, of that strategic 
fuel oil reserve.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 6 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Goss), my distinguished colleague, the chairman of the Permanent Select 
Committee on Intelligence.
  (Mr. GOSS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Young), my friend and colleague, the distinguished chairman of the 
Committee on Appropriations for affording me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate him; and I want to congratulate 
the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) for working in a 
bipartisan way to deal with what has actually provided some relief for 
some people who have need.
  I think this is Congress doing its thing. I think we are, in fact, 
rescuing the administration from some bad policy consequences that have 
taken place. I think it is good that the American people can look and 
see that here we are on a Saturday focusing on these kinds of problems 
and responding to them in a very, very positive way especially, I would 
also say, in a bipartisan way.
  I think that one of the things that has been addressed slightly here, 
and I have heard a little so far in the debate on this about the 
underlying problem, heating oil is not something we have just 
discovered and the need for it and the need for it on an affordable 
  We have debated for a long time how we go about providing affordable 
heating oil. Incidentally, coming from Florida, we are interested in 
low-cost energy as well because we have a lot of senior citizen who 
need to have some climate control. When it gets very hot in the summer, 
we have the reverse problem. And we actually do need to provide air 
conditioning for some of those folks, sadly enough we have death in 
this country during hot spells as we all know, and providing 
appropriate air conditioning is an equal cost.
  I come from New England, so I understand the LIHEAP problem. But I 
live in Florida and proudly represent the southwest coast of Florida, 
the lower part of it; and I understand the other problem as well. We 
have to provide an answer for the whole problem. That gets us to the 
energy policy.
  I honestly believe that we do not have a comprehensive consistent 
energy policy that works. I am afraid that if we had an energy policy, 
it would have been confounded by what is now a clearly failed foreign 
policy in the Middle East, I am sorry to say. I am sure we are all 
sorry to say that.
  I know that the Secretary of Energy, Secretary Richardson, who is a 
fine man, a former colleague of ours, has gotten up and announced that 
the administration was indeed caught asleep at the switch on their 
energy policy. I think I am using his words, maybe it was caught 
napping or asleep or something. But anyway, he basically said they had 
been inattentive. They had not done their job, and he is right.
  I noticed that there was some talk about the release of the surplus 
and the

[[Page H11460]]

impact on the marketplace. I think from the cards and letters and 
talking to the people I talk to and representing the people I 
represent, nobody noticed that we had any relief at the gas pump.
  I think my colleague, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young) is 
right, if there was any relief, we sure did not see it. I do not know 
who else did.
  Apparently, it did not help the people with the LIHEAP heating cost 
problem in New England much either. Actually, the amount of energy 
involved was a day and a half use, a day and a half of consumption. So 
that was a gesture, that was not a solution.
  Mr. Speaker, I think that it is worth noting that just yesterday, 
Saddam Hussein manipulated the oil market price again; and that has a 
bigger consequence than anything that the executive branch has done so 
far to solve the oil crisis and the LIHEAP concerns that we are talking 
about here this morning.
  Now, most Americans when they go out in the morning, they want to 
turn the key in their car; and they want their car to start. I know 
that the candidate of choice from our friends across the aisle is 
suggesting that somehow when we turn our car key that our car is going 
to come running into life and start and take us to work on some kind of 
new magic technology that has not been invented yet, so that we are not 
going to need oil and gas and internal combustion engines.
  Well, that is fine, but I have to go to work today and tomorrow and 
the next day; and that magic technology is not here. Until it is here, 
thank you, we need to find affordable oil.
  Mr. Speaker, we have talked about what happened in places like 
Chicago, how the regulations of the EPA confounded the price of 
gasoline, how the infrastructure failure and the refineries failed to 
be able to provide for the marketplace demand. All of these kinds of 
things have come together and we are not talking about that. We are 
talking about, there is a problem, Government handout.
  I think the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young) was on a correct path, 
when he suggested that if $1.4 billion is not enough, then $1.6 
billion, $1.8 billion. Where does this end? This ends in providing 
socialized, free oil for everybody in America. Great idea.
  They tried it in Russia, the most corrupt systematic problem of the 
Soviet command marketplace was probably the gas pump and it still is. 
So that is not the solution.
  We need an energy policy; and I hope our friends across the aisle 
will help us encourage the next administration, whichever side it is 
on, of developing a good energy policy. I would point out I think those 
who are aware of the oil and gas industry might be able to do better 
with an energy policy, and I would suggest that America might be well 
served by having some people who know about energy making decisions 
about energy.
  Mr. Speaker, the other point that is sort of curious to me is that I 
have heard some talk about people being in the pocket of oil and gas. 
Oil and gas is what we need. That is what we are out there trying to 
find right now.

                              {time}  1130

  If there is anybody that doubts it, do not go to the gas station when 
one runs out of gas. Wait for the next solution to one's car. Then see 
how far down the road one gets.
  So I am very happy that this has come forward. I think we need to 
find a realistic underlying solution to energy policy. In the meantime, 
it is entirely appropriate that Congress, in a bipartisan way with 
Republican leadership, is providing relief. I congratulate the 
gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) and the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Young).
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I think this all sounds well and good, and it is very 
nice and a very nice speech. But let us take a look at the facts. Since 
the 1980s, there has been unprecedented attack on energy conservation 
programs by the United States Republican Party.
  Reagan-Bush repeatedly proposed to zero out energy efficiency and 
renewable energy programs. Quite frankly, it is their legacy, 
shortsighted energy policy that has put the gas pump prices as high as 
they are today. My colleagues refused to invest in energy independence. 
This year alone, Republicans cut renewable energy research $106 million 
below the President's request in the Energy and Water bill; it was $211 
million in the President's request for energy research in the Interior 
  I mentioned before 50 percent cut in the important weatherization 
assistance programs. Not too long ago, 35 Republicans last year, 
including the major leaders of their party, wanted to cut and abolish 
the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  I might add that this was one of the first Republican proposals on 
energy policy when they took the majority was to kill the Low Income 
Home Energy Assistance Programs, the same families that are trying to 
pay for their heating bills and their cooling bills which they talk 
about today. They also wanted to count LIHEAP payments as income for 
the purposes of determining assistance on their food stamps.
  They have not been for an energy policy. They have not been for the 
LIHEAP program. So the speeches sound nice, but the facts are there.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
  (Mr. DINGELL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) for this motion. I want to urge my colleagues 
to support it.
  But I want to say a few words about energy policy. I keep constantly 
hearing from the other side of the aisle, and I say this more in sorrow 
than in anger, that this country needs an energy policy. The simple 
fact of the matter is we have an energy policy. That energy policy is 
the energy policy that was crafted by Mr. Reagan, by Mr. Bush, and by a 
group of Republican Presidents, with the support of their Republican 
colleagues in this Chamber and in the other Chamber.
  The simple fact of the matter is, it is a free market policy. It is 
one which says, let the market go to whatever levels that it will go 
to, to rise or to fall, without government interference. That is the 
energy policy of the United States.
  To implement that energy policy, which I think is probably, in good 
part, unwise, my Republican colleagues have sought at different times 
to cut money for SPR, to sell off SPR. It has shown itself in budget 
and appropriation actions led by my Republican colleagues.
  They have also opposed energy conservation measures, the use of 
alternative fuels and programs which would enable this country to move, 
not in absolute terms totally towards independence, but at least in 
good part.
  It should be noted that it is not long back that my Republican 
colleagues were criticizing SPR as taking oil out of one hole in the 
ground and putting it in another hole in the ground.
  More recently, they have come out and have criticized SPR and have 
tried to cut back on it. They have tried to sell it off. They reduced 
the amount of money which we have put into this thing. They have 
generally been critical of that program.
  Having said this, the policy is there. It is a policy that was 
crafted by Reagan, by Bush, and by their Republican colleagues up here. 
It is a policy which does not consider the good needs and the important 
concerns of this country, to have a ready supply of emergency oil 
available through SPR. It is also a policy which does not consider the 
need to have conservation measures in place functioning and working.
  My Republican colleagues over there have consistently sought to 
prevent this country from having fuel efficiency standards for 
appliances, for refrigerators, for water heaters, for air conditioners. 
The curious thing about that opposition is that it was done in 
opposition to the policies that were stressed by that industry, which 
recognizes, not only their social responsibility to have a good energy 
use in the appliances which they create, but also that the country 
needs that kind of thing because it is necessary for the conservation 
of energy and for the readiness of the United States in times of 
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman 
from Missouri (Mr. Blunt).

[[Page H11461]]

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida for 
yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to join others in giving credit to the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Young) and the gentlewoman from Connecticut for 
really, in effect, working together to see that the purpose of this 
resolution has been achieved. I think that everybody is clear that this 
particular item will come out of the conference. So our effort here 
today to instruct the conferees will have incredible success, Mr. 
Speaker, since we know that this has already been done.
  But we have to be here today for some purpose as we wait for the 
President to come back from California, maybe in Florida next, but we 
are waiting for him to come back from California now. We are waiting 
for White House negotiators to reengage. We have to be here, so we may 
as well be here to talk about some issue.
  I have the highest, highest regard for the gentleman from Michigan 
(Mr. Dingell). It has been an honor to be able to serve with him on the 
Committee on Commerce, to see his great understanding of the rules and 
traditions of the House, and to try to, just by watching him, learn 
from some of that understanding of what we do and how we do it.
  I am sure he is also aware that we have not had a Republican 
President for the last 8 years. So how the energy policy of the country 
is still reflective of that is a surprise to me.
  But I was also surprised when the Department of Energy could not 
secure our nuclear codes. I was surprised when they could not maintain 
our most important and critical security information. So maybe I am 
just here to be surprised.
  I think taxpayers, voters, people who are at the gas pump understand 
that a Department of Energy that cannot watch those two briefcases is 
likely not to have its eye very closely on the price at the gasoline 
pump. That is what has happened there.
  While we are here, though, talking about issues that are already 
accomplished in terms of the additional money for LIHEAP, it is going 
to happen, I would like to take just a minute to talk about something 
that has not been done yet; and that is to encourage the President when 
he does return from California, and he does get the tax bill we passed 
this week, to sign that tax bill.
  That tax bill is likely to be, I would almost bet will be the last 
opportunity we have in this Congress to vote on tax relief, in all 
likelihood the last opportunity we have to vote on Medicare 
adjustments. How this President could let that tax bill go unsigned and 
even, in fact, veto the bill would be something hard for the American 
people to understand.
  The message we got on Tuesday, interestingly, did not use the word 
veto. In fact, it carefully did not use the word veto. When the bill 
was ready to be voted on on Wednesday, we get another letter that says, 
like all tax relief, it is just somehow not quite good enough. They 
were for all for these tax cuts in theory, but they are never for a 
single one of these tax cuts in practice.
  I hope the President carefully rethinks that, looks at the pension 
modernization and things that relate to both pensions held by union 
members, the 415 issue, small businesses that really are hampered today 
in offering pension protection to their associates and employees. This 
bill opens the door for small business to be able to compete with big 
business in offering pensions.
  It expands the IRA amounts in a way that begins to catch IRA 
contributions up with what has happened since IRAs were first enacted. 
In terms of Medicare, there is tremendous help for seniors in Medicare, 
more help for rural hospitals, more help for rural nursing homes, long-
term care. Tax credits are given in this bill and should be extended to 
the American people. The Medicare provisions lower out-of-pocket costs. 
They put more doctors in emergency rooms, more ambulances in rural 
  I hope the President reconsiders his veto threat, looks at this bill 
again, and gives the kind of relief and kind of Medicare assistance 
this bill gives.
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, might I inquire as to the time 
remaining on both sides.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Pease). The gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Young) has 11 minutes remaining. The gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. 
DeLauro) has 14 minutes remaining.
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 10 seconds. The gentleman 
from Missouri (Mr. Blunt) who was speaking, it might be interesting to 
note that just last year voted to abolish Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 
Someone who was concerned about our national security ought to be 
concerned about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. 
  Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Connecticut 
(Ms. DeLauro) for bringing this to our attention.
  Mr. Speaker, I know that the original intent of their instruction was 
to talk about LIHEAP. We have gone far afield and I am going to join 
the field. But I must say that it was a bipartisan coalition of us who 
pushed very hard to get the President of the United States to open up 
SPR and give up some of the reserve because those of us who live in the 
Northeast had gone through a very bad winter last year and this year 
looked bad. We had seen people have to go into shelters because they 
could not afford to heat their houses and pay for food. We do not want 
to see that happening again.
  There was almost a panic starting to set in. Whatever one may think 
about the release, it worked, obviously he did not release enough to 
see us through the winter. We did not want him to. It did have the 
effect of making the OPEC countries reduce the price of oil. It has 
been beneficial, and I again thank him for doing that.
  Now, with talking about the alternative fuels and lack of energy 
policy, I agree we surely do not have one.
  I remember the golden age of exploration, under Jimmy Carter's 
administration, when we talked about hydropower, geothermal power, wave 
power, wind power, photo power, photovoltaic cells, and the grand daddy 
of them all, fusion. We were really intent in the United States to 
making sure that we would not forever be dependent on foreign oil.
  But that came to a screeching halt in 1980 with Reagan, and we went 
back to the old way of allowing oil companies to do what they would 
with us and, as a previous speakers said, let market forces have their 
will with us.
  I appreciate the bipartisan support that we have from the Northeast. 
I understand that in Florida they have some problems with weather. But 
they do not know what it is like when people are freezing.
  My city of Rochester last year had more snow than any city in the 
Northeast of comparable size. If we want to have an energy policy in 
this country, we have got to get back to putting a little money in for 
some research and development, or we will have this debate forever.
  But there is no doubt and history shows that the Reagan 
administration killed renewable energy resources and money for 
  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Mica).
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, this debate on Saturday is not about people 
freezing to death or support for or against LIHEAP. Republicans are for 
providing energy assistance to low-income, disabled, the poor, elderly. 
There is no debate about that question here today.
  We are here on Saturday because the other side is in desperate 
straits. They are trying to bail out their failing Presidential 
campaign, their congressional failing campaigns across the country, 
because the American people have finally said that we have had enough. 
We have had enough of the partisanship from the other side of using 
this arena and putting politics before people.
  This is not about low energy assistance. It is a great program. It is 
a program that has grown from $50 million during the energy crisis, I 
believe, of the 1970s to a $1 billion program. It is a little bit of 
difference about helping people, making certain that the program works.
  Even the President of the United States, I remember, presented us 
with budgets that proposed some trimming, some economy in this program. 
But we are for providing assistance to the poor and the disabled.

[[Page H11462]]

  But, Mr. Speaker, we are here on a Saturday because they want to put 
politics before people. We have HMOs closing around this country. I had 
a gentleman write to me and said, ``You all are debating whether I can 
sue an HMO. I have been dropped by my third HMO which went under.''
  Nursing homes are closing around this country, and the poor and 
elderly are being deprived of care because they want to put politics 
before people.

                              {time}  1145

  It is sad, but I heard George W. Bush say the other day it is sort of 
a fitting end to the close of an era of contentiousness, an era of 
disgrace; that they, the American people, I think, want to put behind 
them. It is sad that we are here now, and they are using this as a last 
stage putting people behind politics. It is not about LIHEAP, it is not 
about people freezing to death, it is about changing the direction of 
this country.
  They had their chance. I heard the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. 
Traficant), a Democrat, say they had 48 years, not mentioning the last 
8 years, and they blew it. This is not about LIHEAP. It is about 
changing the direction of this country. It is about other issues at the 
last minute, like putting provisions in at the last minute to provide 
amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
  I was offended today when I heard someone say that we did not know on 
the Republican side about immigration. My grandparents were immigrants 
and they came in legally to this country, not illegally, and they 
worked in the factories of this country and they toiled. But if we 
throw in this provision to allow millions, we have cast aside our laws. 
What good are our laws? We might just as well tear up our laws and 
throw them away.
  What does it mean to be an American if the President can cast aside 
the very basis for immigration. What made this country great is people 
coming here legally under the laws. So this is not about LIHEAP, this 
is not about low-energy assistance, it is about other greater issues.