In just a few months, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have proven they are out of step with the American people. Despite the fact they have their narrowest margin of control since the 1940s, they are aggressively pursuing policy ideas that far exceed their electoral mandate.
The American people don’t want far right or far left solutions. They want middle ground; they want practical solutions that will address climate change but also create jobs, grow the economy, and strengthen national security.
Fortunately, CRES has tremendous confidence in our new Republicans leaders in Congress to push back and offer commonsense alternatives.
One particular voice we continue to count on is Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who is the new Ranking Member on the House Energy & Commerce Committee (E&C)—the first woman of either party to hold a leadership position on that committee.
We endorsed her re-election last year and recognized her work with our Clean Energy Champion award in 2017 for her impressive track record on clean energy. Throughout her career, she has supported legislation that promotes renewable energy research and development, technology innovations, and domestic production, particularly hydropower. Notably, she was the lead sponsor on the Hydropower Clean Energy Act, which she reintroduced in March with her fellow Washington Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA).
She has wasted no time in making a name for herself in her new role. Earlier this year, the E&C Republicans released a bold agenda for Securing Cleaner American Energy. It provides a clear vision that will reduce emissions while providing affordable, reliable clean energy and supporting our families, workers and communities through innovation in hydropower, nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas.
Importantly, it does so by relying on market-based solutions rather than the heavy-handed mandates, regulations, and runaway federal government spending Democrats prefer. It is a true all-of-the-above plan that is ambitious but cost-efficient, and it seeks to streamline permitting to accelerate the deployment of clean energy and generate the best return on investment.
It would also bolster national security by promoting the domestic production of the critical minerals that are used in technologies like solar panels and electric vehicles. Right now, China commands 10 percent of the global lithium market and at least 80 percent of the rare earth mineral production—both of which are needed for electric vehicle batteries and other clean energy technologies.
“China just released its latest five-year economic plan, part of an apparent effort to cheat its way into becoming the top global power,” she explained in a recent editorial co-authored with her Republican colleagues, David McKinley (R-WV) and Fred Upton (R-MI). Meanwhile, “Democrats continue to double down on their plan for Green New Deal-style mandates.”
The day after releasing that agenda, she sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm inviting her to visit Eastern Washington to discuss policies that advance American energy security, innovation, and global leadership as well as receive a firsthand update on DOE’s work at the Hanford site. DOE officials have confirmed that Secretary Granholm intends to visit the site.
During an April Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on the Democrats’ CLEAN Future Act, she warned how their plan will raise energy costs, hamper reliability, destroy jobs, and hurt American families.
“You cannot build back better if you’re tearing down to do it,” she told the committee. “Policies must recognize the vital role affordable, reliable energy serves for expanding economic opportunity, for enabling new work opportunities, increasing community resilience, for expanding prosperity, for providing affordable power to homes when they need it most.”
Following the Colonial Pipeline hack in May, she led the introduction of several bipartisan energy bills designed to secure America’s energy infrastructure, including her Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act. Just a few weeks ago, she renewed her calls for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that would protect affordable, reliable energy and mitigate the threat of future brownouts, and she became a founding member of the recently formed Conservative Climate Caucus.
CRES is excited to see Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers lead Republicans on E&C. The Committee is critical to road mapping our nation’s future because it covers a broad range of policy areas, including health care, technology and data. But most importantly, it is responsible for developing the nation’s energy policies and protecting its environment.
Given Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ exceptional career championing policies that reduce emissions, enhance our global energy competitiveness, and grow the U.S. economy, we are excited for the future of America’s clean energy economy under her guidance. CRES looks forward to continuing to work with the Congresswoman in her new role to advance commonsense clean energy solutions.
We will be profiling other key Republican leaders in Congress, so be sure to check our blog regularly.