President Barack Obama’s energy policies of encouraging other countries to drill while holding back the United States are an absurd sign of unmitigated hypocrisy, Rep. Jack Kingston tells Newsmax.TV.
The Georgia Republican was commenting on Obama’s recent decision to reverse course and conduct lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and extend leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. The president had imposed a moratorium on leases following the BP disaster while encouraging other countries, such as Brazil, to drill.
“If you want to turn the economy around, the best thing we could do is to send the signal that we are going to drill our own gas,” said Kingston, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “For the president to go down to Brazil and say, ‘Hey, congratulations on drilling your own oil, we’re going to lend you the money and, by the way, we want to be your best customer,’ that is absurd.”
“It’s surreal to think about the president of the United States who says you can’t drill in America, but goes down to Brazil and tells them, have at it. Such hypocrisy. Unparalleled.”
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However, Kingston cautioned that, just because the president has made an announcement, doesn’t mean things will change in an administration that often does two different things at once.
“The EPA is doing absolutely everything they can to stop off-shore drilling or any kind of domestic drilling,” he said.
Kingston noted that a critic of a House measure that would lift the moratorium on drilling argued that such action would drop gas prices only 5 cents from their current $4-plus a gallon.
“Well, you know, if that’s true — and we don’t necessarily know it’s only that little — that comes from a Democrat who was opposed to the bill, but 5 cents a gallon is a huge amount of money when you multiply that times 309 million people in America,” he said. “Because any time gas prices go up, you not only pay to fill up your gas, but every time you buy groceries, or medicine or anything else that’s been delivered by truck, that cost in increased gas has been passed on to you, the consumer and you’re getting hurt by it.”
Kingston, now serving his 10th term in Congress, recently proposed legislation to limit federal spending to 18 percent of the gross domestic product. Going back to 1947, government revenues have been about 18 percent of GDP while spending was about 20 percent of GDP, reaching to about 23 percent now, he said.
“It’s common sense for a business, for a family for a household to not spend more than you’re bringing in but that’s what Congress has gotten into the habit of doing.”
Kingston’s legislation would come with an enforcement mechanism mandating that, if spending edged above 18 percent of GDP, the Office of Management and Budget would step in and make across-the-board budget cuts until revenue and expenditures were realigned. The measure also would look at total federal spending, including such areas typically dealt with separately in the Washington budget process, such as funding for wars and emergency spending.
On other issues, Kingston said:
Raising the debt ceiling is not inevitable. “I can say right now that you do not have a majority of votes in the House to raise the debt ceiling at the moment. However, if we put in there something like a spending cap, something like repealing Obamacare, something like major entitlement reform that changes the direction of the spending, then I think we can sit down with the Obama administration and basically come up with an agreement that we think would solve the problem for the long term, not just for the next year or two.”
He is optimistic that a balanced budget amendment could be passed despite repeated failures over the years. “It might also be something that we have to force the administration and force the Senate’s hand through the debt ceiling negotiations.”
Efforts to repeal $100 billion in advance funding for Obamacare might get the measure back on the negotiation table. “We really don’t know the scenario in which the sitting president of the United States is going to repeal his own signature landmark legislation. However, to take the 10 years advance funding away from it would effectively put it back on the table for great debate and great discussion.”
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