Republican House members will likely offer energy legislation when they reconvene following their summer recess that includes pursuit of alternative means of energy, such as wind and solar energy that have historically been opposed by many conservatives.
House Republicans plan on including such measures in pushing an "all of the above" approach to energy and will make an all-out effort to bring Democrats on board their energy package before unveiling it in September.
The early mover behind this effort is sophomore Republican Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio, a member of the House Energy Committee.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Johnson unveiled a video he narrates which recalls President John F. Kennedy in 1961 calling for landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade and how "we actually beat his deadline by two years."
"President Kennedy captured all of our imaginations with his vision of America putting a man on the moon in 10 years and he made it happen because he reached out to every fabric of our society, including all political persuasions," Johnson told Newsmax. "That's the same approach a true 'all-of-the-above' energy vision must take — to reach out to all sides and produce a program that makes sure we're not dependent on other countries."
Neither Johnson nor any member of the Energy and Commerce Committee has yet to cobble together a final package, but Johnson made clear that any energy measure from the Republican side would include investment in wind and solar energy, both of which are popular among the Democratic side of the aisle.
Johnson also emphasized that the Republican energy package would include traditional sources of energy as coal.
Disputing administration criticism of the coal industry, the Buckeye State lawmaker said: "Coal is cleaner than ever and less expensive. It has been and must be an integral part of our energy agenda."
Johnson spoke to Newsmax a day after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted that the president is also committed to an "all-of-the-above" energy policy.
Carney told reporters, "The president's commitment is clear. He is for an all-of-the-above approach, and that includes increased production of traditional forms of fossil fuels."
"We now have record production of natural gas. We now have a balance of imports versus domestic production that is better than we've seen in 20 years or more," Carney said. "And that reflects his approach, as does the investment in, and a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy."
Johnson voiced sharp disagreement with Carney's comments.
"What the president's spokesman said is very different from what his administration has done," said Johnson.
Johnson noted that the administration's hostile attitude toward the coal industry and to hydraulic fracturing are not examples of "all of the above" but "of picking winners and losers."
"Let the green energy folks have their stakes in this, with wind and solar energy. But also don't pick winners and losers. Try every approach possible and, above all, get out of the way of private industry innovation," Johnson said. "Already, our space-age technology holds promise that we can possibly fracture without liquid. We've got to change the dialogue."
In discussing the possible components in the bill that House Republicans will offer in the fall, Johnson repeatedly returned to how critical it is to bring in Democratic colleagues to co-sponsor and pass the energy measure.
Even if this necessitates Democratic lawmakers as chief sponsors, Johnson is supportive. He recalled the axiom that Ronald Reagan kept on his desk as president: "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit" — which Johnson also keeps on the desk of his congressional office.
"I can't walk in his shoes," he said of Reagan. "But if I bring people of differing viewpoints and from different parties together on this issue, I'd say I've learned something from him."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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