tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 20, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EST
billion in existing annual federal education funds into scholarships that would follow students to the public or private school of their choice. second it expands the way parents can use 529 education savings accounts allowing them to be used for pre-k through high school expenses as well as for college expenses. third, it gives parents the opportunity to use coverdale savings education accounts for qualified home school education expenses. and finally, it eliminates contribution limits on these accounts so parents can maximize their use as a financial planning tool for their child's education. i also founded the congressional school choice caucus to expand educational freedom empower families and promote policies
that increase high-quality educational opportunities for every child. as chair of this caucus, i've had the opportunity to visit charter schools private schools and on-line learning centers across the country. one of the most impressive experiences i had was right here in washington, d.c. at basis charter school. basis teaches an elite advanced liberal arts curriculum utilizing latin, algebra and advanced science concepts in the fifth grade. the results of the school are off the charts. they're educating kids from every single zip code in the washington, d.c. area. i participated in a question and answer session after these classes with the students, and they were smart talked a lot about hard work, extra hours
after class and the challenges of their curriculum. they were proud of their opportunity. but their number one concern was how we could ensure that their friends, neighbors and relatives had the same kind of opportunity. that's powerful. these kids recognized that the freedom to choose their learning environment has changed the trajectory of their life. and they want those same opportunities to be available for others. thankfully, there are a number of solid pieces of legislation proposed this year that could help us do just that. in addition to the bill i just referenced, senator lamar alexander has the scholarship for kids act which should be
debated. this bill which i co-sponsored in the house gives states the option of using 24 billion in federal education funds and turn that into scholarships that drebt directly follow the child. if this bill became law about 11 million students who are eligible for title i funds could receive an average of $2100 to use toward an education that best suits their needs. senator tim scott's choice act seeks to expand educational choices for children with disabilities, those from military families and kids from lower in connection with as well. but we need your help. washington, d.c. on january 28th during the national school choice week to celebrate the progress that's been made with the d.c. voucher and charter school programs and commit ourselves to a broader effort.
i would encourage you all to attend and listen to the house and senate leaders and encourage us, too. let the democrats defend the old way. let them defend the in indispensable indispensable, the status quo. we can be the champion of the american family. it's really this simple. in modern america your destiny should not be determined by what family you were born into or what zip code you live in. this is a civil rights issue of our time. and it's a political issue we can win on. let's be the party the movement, the cause that fights
for the american family and make sure that every american has a real chance to succeed. friends, there are better days ahead. better opportunities lay just beyond the horizon. if we stand on our principles stand with the american family and demand that parents have a choice so every kid has a chance. thank you. [applause] >> thank you congressman messer, that is great. congressman messer is going to stick around for the panel so we appreciate that. and now i'd like to invite the panel up and introduce lindsey
burke, who is our head of education and opportunity here at the heritage foundation. i'm going to turn it over to lindsay for further discussion. come on up. >> thank you congressman messer. that was fantastic. as you outlined, the benefits of school choice are clear. increased graduation rates, improvements in the public education system, better access to services for children with special needs, increased parental satisfaction and involvement in their child's education. you know, one of the most poignant quotes i've ever read about the benefits of school choice, believe it or not, came from the u.s. department of education. so -- right. cue the laugh track. but they put out a professional mandated evaluation of the d.c.
scholarship program back in 2010, and it was in that report that it was written by the end of the second year of data collection, it became clear, very clear to us, the researchers, that the vast majority of families in the d.c. opportunity scholarship program were moving from a marginal role as passive recipients of school assignments to active participants in the school selection process in very practical ways. this realization suggested that most opportunity scholarship program parents were essentially moving from the margins to the center of their children's academic development. that really stuck with me the power of school choice to move parents from the margins to the centers of their children's academic experience. so school choice is a win-win. but as congressman mess era lewded to, overseas a limited
education. 90% of everything that's spent on education is financed at the state and local level, and to maintain the tenets the federalism, it must happen largely at the state and local level. so the policies of federal lawmakers who want to right school choice has to be done at the federal level, the types of those outlined by congressman messer lifting the cap allowing 529 accounts to be more flexible. so with that, i'll turn it over to our panelists. we have a great panel today. carr kerr win is president of the center of reform, one of the leading federal advocacy programs. and dawn sha
and don schweitzer who serves on the public board. please welcome our panel. [applause] >> thank you lindsey and every time i hear congressman messer speak, i just get more and more charged because it's fabulous to have leadership back on capitol hill and someone who is really pushing this agenda forward, and the first ever school choice caucus is really incredible to me. it reminded me to look at the history of school choice, especially in congress. when i first came to this movement i was actually an intern working in the office of senator moynahan. i was from new york and i only had two options. i came across this letter. it was from 1977. it was moynihan writing to then school superintendent feldman basically defending school
choice. he said it's a lack of conservatism that liberals get this but conservatives don't. over two and a half decades, conservatives have been on the right side of this issue. they understand that parents need freedom and choice. in fact 72% of americans really do believe in school choice and those numbers fluctuate every year, but it really remains pretty high. 86% of americans agree that we need more accountability in our schools. gosh, could you imagine anything that americans can agree on at that level? but the main problem and this goes to your point congressman messer, is that you know, two-thirds of americans really don't believe that their elected officials are leading on education issues the way they need them to be. so when you look back at the history of school choice on capitol hill, you can see that it takes time, it takes courage and it takes leadership to actually enact stuff and get stuff happening in states. you know two decades ago, you
had congressmen fighting for vouchers here on capitol hill and it got vetoed twice by president clinton. we might have that same scenario play out in the next couple years. but they stayed the course, and 10 years later we have a d.c. opportunity scholarship program. meanwhile, we saw tommy thompson partner up with the democratic legislator from milwaukee to pass the first ever voucher program in wisconsin. cleveland followed suit. now today there are 19 programs operating across the country. if you have leadership on capitol hill you can demonstrate and give courage to those state leaders at home. because yes, education truly is a state issue. but it really does take that courage and tenacity, and i'm thrilled to see that energy back on capitol hill. >> thank you. there's been a popular book in urban education for the past five years called "teach like your hair is on fire." i'd love to say i'm here to
advocate education policy like your hair is on fire but i've seen it and it's not pretty. congressman messer started by talking about the $14 billion that's appropriated for title i. title i is the largest piece of federal funding for education. it constitutes about 40%. special education is behind it. if title i were a charter school it would be closed. if title i were principal it would be fired. teach like your hair is on fire. i've had the opportunity to spend some time at charter schools here in the district of columbia that we're proud of. we have a long way to go but we're recognized as the highest sector of charter schools in the country, and we're making progress. if you look at title i which was instituted to help people who are disadvantaged and underserved, if you look at the progress they've made, seven points over the last 10 years
and not closing any of the achievement gaps that we see in eighth grade there is some small progress in the fourth grade test. but on the eighth grade test it disappears. there have been negligible if any reading gains and math in tenth grade. teach like your hair is on fire. i've had the good opportunity to hear congressman messer articulate his vision for education, and sir, it's an honor to stand with you. you are both a realist and a visionary, and that's what america's schools need. if we look at what we can accomplish in education, if we look at what school choice can accomplish, if we look at keeping the power in los angeles, a school in choice the highest rated school in los angeles county, a charter school, they use blended learning. if we look at indianapolis that had three years of growth in reading and four years of growth in math, these are blended learning models. we look at what can be accomplished in schools of choice. we look at where the charter
school movement is headed. basis is a wonderful school. come and visit any of our tier 1 charter schools here in the district of columbia. we're very proud of them, and the number of charter schools and the number of d.c. kids who have seat and tier 1 charter schools is growing. you can recognize them because they're the ones that advertise on the back of buses that say tier 1. we have a long way to go. we've closed a quarter of our charter schools here in the district of columbia in the seven years i've served on the board because they're low performing. nobody celebrates failure but it has to happen. the district of columbia and the great state of indiana are really leading the way on school choice in the united states in ways that we can all learn from and ways that all of our children can benefit from. and that's the sort of leadership that i'm incredibly grateful for from mr. messer and from this panel and look forward to building on that in the year to come. >> great. well, we have a few minutes for questions, but i'd like to kick it off with just a few questions
for each of you. maybe starting on the end, don, with you since you just wrapped up. can you talk a little bit more about those charter impacts? there's been great work done by carolyn huxby at stanford, and you often hear kids talk about the flexibility of charter schools. can you break it down for us? >> if people asked about charter schools, i'm not sure how i would respond. if you look at the national research, it can be mixed. charter schools don't necessarily perform better nationally than other schools. but when you really drill down and you really see what constitutes a high-performing charter school movement you need strong charter school laws you need strong charter school authorizing practices, and ultimately you need to enforce quality in the charter school sector. we've done that here in the district of columbia to great effect. we're driving education averages in the district of columbia. we have a long way to go. 53% of black boys in eighth grade are below basic. we are in no position to be resting, but this is the sort of model for charter school
authorizing that the nation could learn from. if you look at new york city, if you look at the district of columbia, you look at the incredible work that's happening in indiana with the new charter school authorizer and the mayor of indianapolis this is the way to get things done and make happy customers and children that are realizing the opportunities they can take advantage of. >> maybe for cara and congressman messer can you talk a little about the parent component of this? often -- maybe not often -- every now and then you hear from folks who might question the ability of families to navigate the choice system. what's been your experience in indiana on the ground? >> my observation to the prior comment is there is a level of accountability with charter schools that you don't have in the public school system. we closed charter schools that aren't successful. there are very few public schools, hardly any, that have been been closed. the challenge we face is how do you get models that are working
up to scale? one of the real tragedies we've seen the movie "waiting for superman," and it's about a phenomenon that we have a scarcity of opportunities. you see these families some who would say to your question, that you have families that maybe can't navigate themselves. what you see in reality is that where parents have choices, they are highly engaged. and frankly, they know the difference between whether their kids are in a situation where they can succeed and other opportunities where they can't. and when they can't get there, again, for those who have seen the movie it's obviously tragic for them. so one of the things, again and i would completely agree the federal education dollar is 10% of the total dollars we spend as a nation. but as a nation, how do we get these strong models up to scale so that we're able to eliminate that scarcity? >> i typically ghetto fendedet offended
and we hear this quite often in our space that parents, specialespecially those parents, don't know how to make choices. it's because we haven't empowered them educated them and allowed them to make those choices, and frankly, we haven't created the market. look at indiana. 3,000 students first participating in the program. 30,000 three years later? when parents are provided good information about their schools let's be honest, most states and the data available to parents is almost impossible for people like us to understand. so how is a parent, especially a low-income parent, potentially working two or three jobs and maybe a single parent how are they going to maneuver all that information unless we help make it easier for them? that's where we at the policy level can help. but it shocks me -- ask ipnd i know, don, you know from the d.c. experience that parents know how to make choices, but it's how we
provide the choices for them and also how the information is made available to them. >> we have about 10 minutes for questions. we'll open it up. if you'll just wait for the mic to come around. yes, sir in the back there. >> thank you all for being here. what about the department of defense, the million and a half kids that are sent to public schools through the department of defense budgets and all the charter schools that don't allow them to even apply because they're not taxpayers in their local jurisdiction? >> well, it's actually not -- and i've been looking at this sorry to jump in, but it's not necessarily that they're not allowing kids to enroll, it's because the restrictions at the district level or within the department of defense are preventing it. there are, i think, nine charter schools on bases right now and more bases want that, but the status quo has prevented that from happening, and so our families who serve in the military should have access to choices, but they're being denied those because of, you
know, people here in washington or people back home that still want control over that space. so i would push a little harder to get more information on that, but there are charter schools serving those populations. but a lot of the reason was because they are being blocked. those parents and military families are being blocked from having those options. >> being blocked locally or federally? >> both. >> and i would add, too, senator scott has a bill that would allow for a pilot voucher program on military installation. >> and we're working with the senator on that program. on the way out i'd love to chat with you about it. if there's more to do we'll do it. >> the d.c. charter organization is giving priority to military families so we can serve them. if you look at the charter school on the base, it's an excellent example of what can be
accomplished to serve this student population that you're absolutely right. virginia is the state that has had the largest growing act of duty military population as a result of debraque and it's the local level that's the last to hear about the planning. where we do get it right i think there are shining examples we can learn from. >> so we're all singing kum-ba-ya about the school choice. can we talk about some of the blockages and barriers to choice? i'm thinking about the d.c. scholarship program here. the states haven't been exactly open to this option. can you talk about how to overcome this option? >> i've always said when i talk to young people, when you shoot for a's and you miss, you get b's. when you shoot for b's and you miss, you get c's, so you better shoot for a's. what does it have to do with what you're describing?
we can't get fixated on the barriers. we have to put forward what we believe is the right policy. and you never know, who would have thought that welfare reform in the 1990s would pass. it helped that they had filibuster approved majorities or veto-approved majorities. but yes, it's unlikely the president would support most of the bills that i would put forward that would give parents more choices and opportunities. although they've hinted in charter schools, they would have a little bit of a flexibility. i also believe that we have a challenge getting our own members up to speed on some of these issues. frankly, in the states where you have programs most of those members of congress are then, therefore, familiar with the programs and more willing to sort of understand how consistent with our principles values, omission we could create these programs. those who are from states that
don't have as robust a charter or any state programs they have a tendency to say, why would we have anything to say about that? so yes, the president is not likely to be there. i'm focused on trying to make sure our own team understands the ways we can, consistent with our principals, move forward on this issue. >> i find the challenges to be both from the outside and the inside. don brought up only some charters are doing well. a lot of it is because of the state policy and the state policies that have been put forth. i mean there is a lot of charter laws. like maryland, there are some successful schools that are being successful despite the odds. but truthfully it's in name only. when you have bad policy and you're putting people in charge of overseeing authorizing schools who are also in charge of our failing public school system, we're basically not going to get the same result. so the results sometimes can be argued that they're mixed because we don't really have a robust charter marketplace or
choice marketplace like the way it exists here in the district. another problem, i think, an obstacle that goes to the politics of it but it's the lack of knowledge. you look at a state like pennsylvania for example. for years and&and years they led with sv-1 and the quality was going to be approved. there was no leadership. both sides of the aisle had no idea what they were talking about or debating. it takes people like congressman messer to take the time and educate their colleagues in these their chambers so they understand the efficacy of it and help spread the word. but it does take time and effort, and that's what we need out of our leadership and i think there's an opportunity right now with this congress to do just that. >> what about barriers to the charters in the district in particular? we're almost at 50% now, nearly half of students in d.c. are
enrolled in charter schools. are we at a tipping point? >> i don't think i can predict to when we'll get to more than 50% because the emphasis of this board has been on quality and we close as many charter schools as we've opened. we make it harder so you have to be a top tier charter school to be able to expand and take new kids and open a campus. so the effort has been on quality. we're proud of that, and despite that emphasis the market chair has continued to grow, and grow to the point where there's very little chance that the d.c. public schools teacher contract that allows for evaluating teacher quality and paying based on that what would happen if we didn't have a substantial market share? it was close to 20% at the time. i have talked about charter schools, i have not talked about the d.c. opportunity scholarship program. there is a lot we can do. that is an incredibly popular program for the families who are enjoying it and will enjoy higher graduation rates as a result. and between the people who run it, there is a lot that the federal department of education
for one could be doing to help expand the proven success of the program, and that we frankly, as citizens of the city can be doing to give families the opportunity. heritage was good enough to publish a report that darren and i wrote a few years ago that talk about school safety. school safety is very near the top or at the top when parents choose schools nearly all the time. where is the information about the safety of children's schools in the district of columbia? it's not there. when you do a request like we did and publish the results -- they're probably not shocking to the people in this room that have seen data like that in the past, but for the parents attending the schools that have high incidences of violence over their schools for the quest of a year, that's not the information parents need to be able to act. >> yes, sir. >> speaking of barriers,
structuring programs such as arizona arizona's could overcome some of those barriers. >> many states have amendments in place now, and these amendments effectively prohibit the private school choice in particular. those limits are giving way to some of the innovative and i think, most inspiring school choice programs that we've seen to date. states like arizona that have really innovative education savings accounts in place. so arizona was able to do it despite that and, in fact, structuring their savings account program in a way that ep ensured that, in fact, the funding was going to parents. the parents could make a choice on how they wanted to allocate every single dollar in that account. how we allocate the program is very important as well but that's something states need to think about as they move forward and how they want to advance
choices. i don't know if you have anything to add to that. >> sure. in the few states, you look at new york or others and actually florida had a voucher program and it was challenged, and now they just have this really robust tax credit program t but he actually said it was a viable charity. you're really seeing parents be real consumers of their child's education in so many ways. they created like their own little consumer reporting sites. it's really cool. so when anyone says parents can't make choices, you look at this and say, wow, they really can. i hope we'll see more states -- there is a lot of buzz with state legislators, but i think.
also carry that message back home in the states. >> i would just add that's one reason that the lenls lags we're putting forward talks about expanding use of 529 coverdale accounts, and eliminate those caps? why would we be putting money aside and helping student with a college opportunity. >> thank you all so much, congressman messer, cara, don for your great remarks. please join us in thanking our panel lists. [applause] >> we'll have a 10-minute break and then we have coming up soon ron santos from florida, up and coming rising star in the conservative movement. you'll like his talks. then we have rand paul right after that.
the conservative policy summit also heard from representative jeff duncan of south carolina who spoke about energy policy, including a proposal that would try to reduce financial and regulatory barriers for energy production. this is 50 minutes. everyone want to grab their seats? we'll begin our next session. we are excited today to have congressman jeff duncan to talk to us about the broader effect of energy across country. i know senator dement is particularly excited to have the senator of california on stage. he'll be here toward the end of
our discussion. i think you all know that jeff duncan has been a consistent conservative voice since coming to washington in 2010 and that class was really huge because it was a tea party surge sense here to washington to reform washington. and we'll hear later this afternoon from six members of the class of 2014, which i think has a lot of similarities to your class of 2010. we'll talk about some of the lessons they may have learned from this last election. but since coming here in 2010 he's led on many of the tough policy fights conservatives have been pushing. he's consistently at the top of the heritage action scorecard. he's latched onto the energy issue now and has put together what we think is one of the best most comprehensive energy reform bills in the expand act. when we talk about opportunity for all and favoritism to none, we need to understand that in the energy field, reform doesn't mean picking winners and losers based on the size of an
organization's lobbying budget. at the end of the day, the market reform is whether or not it performs an even playing field, removes tax subsidies, but breaking down owners' regulations, by opening up exploration across the country and by submitting a licensing process. jeff duncan's bill does all of this and more and we're excited to have him here. join me in welcoming him to the podium. [applause] >> well, thank you, and thanks for having me today. i literally just got off an airplane and ran through the terminal to get in the car to come here but it's always great to be among fellow conservatives and i think about energy, i think about opportunity and the gop party. really, they need to reinvent itself or rename itself.
i think the grand energy opportunity party. i'm here today to discuss why i'm so optimistic for energy and opportunity in this country. bear with me for just a second. like i said, i literally just got off an airplane. it takes a minute to get the thought processes going. but while i'm doing that, i wanted to share a couple articles that were on market watch this morning, one of which was oil above $100 never again said today. "$2 trillion in investments." energy is really a new frontier and it's something that we need to focus more on. if you think about where we are as a global economy with regard to energy we're really seeing levels of energy prices that no
one participated would ever happen again. below $100 a barrel or below 50 a barrel. gas prices in south carolina $1.65 a gallon, $1.80 a gallon. diesel fuel, $3.20 a gallon. i wish it would come down a little more for diesel fuel. but what does that mean? what does that mean as we focus on the things i've been talking about really for four years and that's expanded energy here in this country. what can we do to unleash and unbridle this spirit when it comes to energy? when you think about energy, it really touches on every state, every congressional district and every american. i mentioned a second ago the price of a gallon of gasoline now. i said in november i was speaking to a group in south carolina. i said that for every 50 cent
reduction in the price of a gallon of gasoline means about a $10 savings for moms and dads per 20-gallon fillup. we're well below a dollar so that's a $20 savings, and some are realizing $26 savings per fill-up. think about how that translates for moms and dads in this country. how much do you fill up in a week? two, three, four times? $100 a week savings for moms and dads? that's real money to be spent in the economy. that's real money to be spent in entertaining that's real money that could be put in the bank for savings, replenishing the savings after 2008. when i think about the fact energy touches every congressional district every state and every american, i think about the uranium that's mined in wyoming being used in a nuclear power plant in oconi
county south carolina. or i think about the electricity that that power plant provides to say a michelin tire company that produces these mega large construction tires that go on the big dump trucks that are being used in the oil sands of canada. it touches everybody. a private energy sector means more money for businesses and individuals to spend and we talk about a trickle down. when you think about energy, and you think about energy jobs i talk about jobs, energy and the founding fathers and that's an acronym. that spells jeff and i really like that acronym. jobs, energy and founding fathers. jobs. you look at texas, look at oklahoma, look at the states that are producing energy and
energy jobs, they have very low unemployment. the article i talked about talked about finder's fees in north dakota for people who are doing menial jobs at burger king or mcdonald's or whatnot. i think about the energy jobs, and i ask you to think about this with me. the original thought when you think about energy production, the original thought that you have, the picture that comes to mind is that guy in the hard hat with the oil uniform. he's out on the drilling derrick and whether it's in the ocean or whether it's on shore, and he's in the uniform and he's turning the big chain that's helping turn the drill on the derrick as they drill for that. those are the jobs you're thinking about. but when we talk about energy jobs, it's much more than that, and those are good-paying long-term jobs. those guys go out to the rigs for 10 12 days at a time, come back. the jobs i'm really talking about is everything that supports that. because those guys have to get carried out there to the drilling platforms. they have to take food and drilling mud and diesel fuel to the drilling platforms. that means supply vessels and
supply vessel work. everything that they take out there, the drilling mud has to be mined somewhere. the casing the pipes and everything that makes the drilling platform work has to be carried out there. and all the widgets all the components that have to be manufactured to make it all work out there they're manufactured on shore. and the people that are manufacturing and pipefitting and welding, occasionally they'll drop a pipe on an auto body, and that auto body has to go down to the mechanic and have that body fixed or they may blow an engine and have it serviced. the guys doing the hvac work are heating the air out on those rigs as well. those people are on shore. and guess what? they're going to the local restaurants and they're tipping the waitresses. they're joining the united way, they're sponsoring ball teams. they're going to church and they're tithing. the first domino is really to
allow more energy production in this country whether it's oil and gas or whether it's expanded nuclear power. you're putting americans to work. those are the jobs i'm talking about, and those are good jobs. and i'll be honest with you, my state of south carolina would love to see some of those jobs happen if we open to that area in off coast of carolina unlocking it for energy production. and if you fly down to louisiana and you fly to lafayette and you drive down highway 90, or i think it's 101 that parallels 90, go on down to fort buchon and you see the port activity but on your way you're going to be on a four-lane road. you'll see business after business after business supporting some facet in the oil and gas business. that's why they have low unemployment. i want to see that in south
carolina, i want to see that across this country as we expand energy production in this nation. how do we do that? well, we open up the outer continental shelf area and that's one thing the expand act does. it opens up more of the ocs. if you think about it, george bush actually opened up almost all of those currently under a moratorium and president obama reinstated that. so now drilling activity that you have offshore in america is off the coast of alaska and it's in generally the western gulf of mexico. you see very little other drilling activity happening on the ocs. you've got some old wells off the coast of california. california is blessed with energy resources as well. so i think we ought to open up more the outer continental shelt shell. we ought to do that first by offering more seismic activity in the south atlantic so we can
see what recoverable resources might be out there. it's been about 30 or 35 years since we did any seismic in the atlantic ocean to see whether there were any recoverable resources there. so we're looking at 30, 35-year-old seismic graphs that were shot with 30-year-old technology. let's get in the 21st century. let's think about 3-d or 4-d seismic technology. they can not only look down to earth, but they can take that seismic and spin it around and look for where there might be recoverable resources eliminate a lot of steps of exploration and go into more energy production. we need to allow that 21st century technology to happen off the coast of south carolina off the coast of north carolina off the coast of virginia off the coast of georgia, states that want to see that activity currently happen. if you think about, really, the environmentalists' pushback on seismic work, you're hurting the
marine mammal. we can't think of any incident in the world where a marine mammal was killed by seismic work. i asked them to give me examples as we were talking about seismic work in an environmental impact study. give me an example because we're doing seismic work in the atlantic, but it's up in nova scotia. it's in acanadian waters. but we've allowed mitigation efforts to happen and said, listen, if there's any mammals in the area we're going to not allow seismic work. okay, that makes sense. but if you think about the seismic that's going on up the coast of africa, brazil and the mediterranean, off the coast of indonesia, off the coast of canada and nova scotia you see all the seismic work. same dynamics there, they don't have the same mitigation efforts we're required to have in this country.
so what i talked about earlier, the price of a barrel of oil is now below $50. i talked to a former buddy of mine, mike landry in louisiana. help me with the dynamics that might be at play now if we're talking about $50 a barrel or less. what does that mean to the gulf states? what does that mean to the oil producer in the gulf of mexico? this there has to be a break even point where you sell a barrel of oil and make a profit. if you drop below that for a period of time, it's not going to be profitable. what does that mean? he said, duncan, he said, one factor that's never talked about in the price of a barrel of oil is the regulatory costs. it costs more to produce a barrel of oil in this country than it does almost anywhere else in the world because of the regulatory environment we have to operate in. so we really need to address and the expand act does some of that, address some of the regulatory environments the businesses operate in in doing oil and gas production. it also addresses to the
regulatory environment that nuclear power plants operate under. not the ones currently operating, but going forward how do we build a nuclear power plant in this country? see, in my state, we have one of the few nuclear power permits a nuclear power plant being constructed in jengkinsville, south carolina. there's only one i know of in augusta, georgia, and the other one is in sng right across a county line from my district. and it took decades to get that permitted. it shouldn't cost tens of billions of dollars of investment and compliance with a regulatory environment to build a nuclear power plant. if you think about nuclear power, and i'll touch base on this in a minute and we'll move on but nuclear power. we ought to look on the modularization and minimumization of nuclear power.
if you think about nuclear power, at any given time we've got about a hundred small nuclear power plants floating around the seas of the world in the united states navy. not a single mishap that i'm aware of. and i bet they didn't have to go through all the regulations that the jenkinsville plant had to go through. they ought to be able to come up with one, two, three proven designs for a nuclear power plant and replicate that. nuclear power is clean, there is no carbon emissions other than the backup generators and maybe the cars pulling into the parking lot. we're proud to have a nuclear power plant in my district. i think that is one thing we need to look at as well and that definitely ties in well with what we talked about on the regulatory environment. americans are in need of an all of the above energy approach. and when you think about all the above, you think about wind, solar, hydrogen, you think about all those groovy technologies i really like. i like the look of a wind mill. i think it's neat that you can harness the wind -- some say
it's free. well, it's not free because there's a significant investment in the wind turbines and the transmission line and everything that goes on there. it's not free, it does take an investment. i like that technology. but it's intermittent. the wind doesn't blow all the time. the sun doesn't shine all the time. i like the solar technology as well. to harness energy from the sun is really, i think, proven technology as well. it still requires transmission lines. it still requires placement areas. it still requires, hey, if you look at a map of the western united states where a lot of those sunny days are, a lot of the open spaces are who owns it? it's owned by the federal government. so if we want to expand the availability of land for solar and wind we need to open up more of that federal land for that type of production as well. see, when we talk about opening up federal land for energy production, the first thing a lot of folks think about is you want to put oil and gas derricks
out there you want to start oil and gas production. yeah, i do but i also want to open that land for solar and wind as well and it also requires opening that federal land for transmission lines, open up that land for roads and bridges and the cell towers, and a lot of other things that are necessary in order to make those technologies work as well. and so part of the expand act would open up that federal land to more energy development. and there's a sidebar that we never talk about and the expand act doesn'tâ we ought to talk about mining. mining for uranium but mining for the rare earths and make it work. without those rare earth minerals, a lot of this technology doesn't work, either. we're relying on china for a lot of the rare earths right now. if you have a cell phone in your pocket, i'm sure there are a lot of rare earths in that as well. we ought to talk more about rare earths and the fact that be federal land i'm talking about is full of rare earths.
we need to be cognizant of that. let's talk about the expand act a little bit. it's truly all the above energy approach. open up that federal land for oil and gas and wind and solar production we talked about earlier. it opens up more of the gulf of mexico. right now most of the gulf of mexico is the western gulf of mexico. none of the eastern gulf is open. there is some environmentally sensitive areas. we're not talking about those areas. we can exclude some of the environmentally sensitive areas. there are some areas out there where the united states navy and i would assume the air force, do some carrier landings and they're very sensitive from a national security standpoint. those are flight lines those are areas that they practice. those can be off limits as well. but why shut down the whole eastern gulf of mexico for those very reasons? and just as another sidebar i was thinking about on the plane as i came here is what the president did with cuba
recently. with regard regardless of how you feel about opening up relations with cuba the thought occurred to me if we do open up normalized relations to cuba, is that going to open up more access to cuban waters for american energy producers? right now they're open to china ocean producers which probably aren't doing it with regulations we're required to follow. but if that does open up more of those cuban waters, what does that say to the whole eastern gulf of mexico. so you can't have that without having a conversation about the eastern gom as well. that shell in deep water i'm pleased to be part of implementing one thing i think the obama administration got right. you don't hear that come out of a conservative's mouth very often. the one thing the obama administration got right was a
carbon agreement signed in mexico by hillary clinton. it opened up a million and a half acres in the gulf of mexico. the gulf of mexico. if you can think about a boundary between the united states and mexico you think about that border in texas and new mexico. think about a maritime border or a maritime boundary. that border extending out into the gulf of mexico where we have territorial waters on the mexican side and territorial waters on the u.s. side. well under that maritime boundary are recoverable resources. and for a long time that million and a half acres in that what they call the western gap part of the gulf of mexico was off limits. nobody was producing. mexico wasn't producing, u.s. wasn't producing. so they signed this transboundary hydro carbon agreement said we're going to allow that area to be produced. we're going to allow those shared resources to be produced we're going to share resources, technology, some of the regulations. well, once they signed that agreement, we asked ken salazar
the secretary of the interior at the time how about sending us the implementing language so we could implement that agreement. we'd like to open up a million and a half acres of deep water in the western gulf to energy production because we believe there's recoverable resources there that could go into that national security energy mix on american energy independence. he wouldn't send us the implementing language. after about a year of that doc hastings and i and a number of others on the committee working to get that i decided to write it myself. i wrote the implementing language. we pass it through the house bipartisan. it wasn't unanimous but it was bipartisan. went to the senate, couldn't get anybody to deal with it over there. so we're able to get it in the omnibus last year. last december, and guess what? that opened up a million and a half acres in the western gulf and they have a lease set up leaving august or september on some of that. so we're going to start developing that. what can happen there if we can do it in the western gulf why can't we do it off the coast of south carolina? that was 5600 feet of water or deeper. off the coast of my state, we're
talking about 100 or 120 feet deep. 70 miles out. shallow water. shallow water in the field of energy exploration. versus ultradeep in the western gap. so think about that people say we don't want to have another deep water horizon and another energy issue off the coast of south carolina, nor do i. nobody's advocating for reckless drilling. in fact i think we're safer today than we ever have been with regard to energy drilling and production. but if you think about it, you can't compare apples and apples. off the coast of louisiana, and out in the gulf of mexico, where horizon was, 5600 feet deep, off the coast of south carolina 120 feet deep. 5600 deep you got to get a robot down there to try to cap a gusher with the guys on the surface with a playstation controller looking at a tv screen trying to operate that. off the south of carolina god forbid if anything happened somebody jumps in the water with a diving suit on takes the wrenches and blow torch and all the tools they need and take
care of it right then. that's the kind of thinking we need to have. i'll just finish talking about expand real quick. i'm passionate about energy. i can talk about energy all day in a lot of different realms. the expand act is something we're going to reintroduce this year. it schedules leasing for the ocs allows the seismic work. it allows a 37.5% revenue sharing to come back to the states that are new areas. 37.5%. my state would love to have 37.5% of oil produced or revenues produced off oufr coast. because guess what my general assembly can direct that to the roads and bridges and infrastructure needs that we have in south carolina. now there's a different mix of energy revenue sharing in this country. well i only wyoming got a billion dollars in revenue sharing. louisiana, texas mississippi, alabama and florida each split $500 million. $100 million each. wyoming got a billion. louisiana got $100 million. we may want to look at that. that south carolina and other states going forward say we're going to try to get the best deal we can and right now we're talking about $37.5%.
so leasing in exploration in alaska. because we've got anwar and the national wet role yum reserve up there and areas that are proven to have resources we should look at. we should have a leasing program up there off the coast of alaska and just going through the bill here it breaks down right of ways, and it breaks down access on federal land that we talked about earlier. it does prohibit the designation of new wilderness areas that may have resources. the destination of wilderness areas. this is a guy who enjoys the wilderness numerous times in montana and still do. and so i appreciate the wilderness areas. but if we got some energy issues there, maybe we take a very comprehensive look at toes areas before we just designate them wilderness review areas. a lot of things here regarding epa and the ability to stop
energy production with filing lawsuits, and rollback of energy regulations that we talked about earlier. and i keep pointing to the thing that jeff landry told me, the cost of a barrel of oil in the united states costs more to produce than anywhere else because of the regulations. we really ought to take a look at the regulatory environment. it touches on cadillac keystone pipeline and the president does its work or maybe keystone will happen i'll pull that out. it won't be necessary anymore. i talked about reopening yucca mountain. yucca mountain. something that we've invested and continue to invest money in. because they're still collecting money out of the south carolina they're still collecting money out of their utility bill every week. or every month. reopen yucca mountain. we had a long conversation about yucca mountain and i'd be glad to at any time. but it's -- keeps the endangered species act from being able to hamper oil and gas production in this country and other energy
resources. it rolls back some of the energy subsidies and things like we saw with solyndra and disincentivizes those things that the administration has been able to use. and then the last thing that i'll talk about is the whole climate change. it doesn't allow the climate change aspects of low carbon emissions to stop what is proven, and that's oil and gas production in this country and utilization of proven resources that aren't in a metal. i talk about wind and solar being intermittent. what did i mean about that? sun doesn't shine all the way the wind doesn't blow. so until we come up with the ability to store that energy that's harvest through wind and solar it makes it a very volatile energy source. see in order to be able to store enough usable energy to run a manufacturing plant from wind and solar you have to have humongous batteries. we've got to focus on i think the r&d side on how to miniaturize and expand the capacity of a smaller battery system for wind and solar in
order to make it viable. you think about a tesla it can only go so far because of a battery. one of the things elon musk, one of the issues he has is battery capacity. it's a light weight vehicle. it's battery powered. you only have so many batteries in there. if you have too many batteries it would be too heavy, still wouldn't be able to travel as far. so there's a balance there. so look into that as well. look in to the battery capacity, and look into wind and solar when we think about energy, and using those technologies, as well. so i'd be glad to try to answer any questions. i don't know how i am doing on time. gone a little over. [ applause ] >> thank you congressman. that was great. now i'd like to invite nick lloris up. nick is our herbert and joyce morgan fellow at the institute for economic freedom and opportunity here at heritage. and myron ebell is the director for energy and environment at
cei, competitive enterprise institute. thanks, gentlemen for joining us for our panel. before we open it up for questions, couple minutes remarks from both of you. and then we'll ask the audience for questions. thank you. >> sure. i'll start off and then turn it over to myron. congressman thanks for those remarks and thank you all for being here today. when i was in north dakota i saw what the congressman was talking about, and i ate at this little restaurant that was basically a trailer park and it was a mom and daughter who moved from california to williston north dakota, to start this restaurant chain because they couldn't do so in california and i never thought that i would actually meet someone who voluntarily left california to come live in north dakota. but, that's what this economic opportunity has provided. the congressman, you did a great job focusing on the opportunities that the energy sector has provided us in this oil, shale and gas revolution has provided us over the past few years so i'm going to take a few minutes to talk about the other part of what heritage
action has done in this favoritism to none. because we've seen over the past few years what works and what doesn't in the energy policy. and when markets are free and open to competition we've seen job creation. we've seen billions of dollars in private money injected into the economy, and frankly a better standard of living. and when markets are strangled by regulation that are devoid of any meaningful environmental benefit. when you have subsidyies that pick winners and losers in the marketplace. and when you have either efficiency mandates or renewable fuel mandates that force the use of one good over another you're faced with higher costs. you're faced with a worse standard of living, with taxpayer dollars and less choice. and i think what probably most perverse that i don't think conservatives do a good job of talking about enough is that even though these policies,
these subsidies mandates, things like that, are intended to promote specific energy technologies, may be well intentioned, they actually do more harm to the long-term progress than actually help it. and it's the dependence on government that perpetuates stagnation rather than competition. and to give you an example before i turn it toefr to myron let me read you a quote from "the new york times." it reads, matthew wald writes a new generation of windmills that don quixote could never tilt at is ready to take its place as an economical and important source of the nation's energy. because of striking improvements in technology, the commercial use of these windmills, or wind turbines as the builders call them, has shown that in addition to being pollution free they can now compete with fossil fuels in the cost of producing electricity. now that reads kind of like a quote that maybe was tossed around during the wind production tax credit debate you know over the past few months. matthew wald wrote that in
september of 1992. almost 23 years later, the arguments are basically the same. they're just give us a few more years, just give us a few more dollars, and we'll make it on our own. and when that extension runs out it's the same thing asking for another year asking for a few more billion dollars. when you have a large part of your production cost paid for by the taxpayer that's what you're going to get. your incentive structure changes pretty dramatically. you're focused more on securing that next handout rather than truly innovating and lowering costs to compete in the marketplace with conventional sources of energy or whatever the technology may be. so that's why we're not just focusing on opportunity for all, because we've seen what opportunity provides us. but we're really focusing on favoritism to none because it protects the taxpayer. it provides opportunity for these technologies that may be ee vergemergeingeing and lets them stand up
and compete on their own two feet and die a painful death, but at least it's dead on their own private investment instead of the taxpayers. i'll turn it over to myron. >> thank you, nick. i want to thank tim chapman and nick lloris and heritage action for america for inviting me to participate in this. i think it's very valuable to give so many of our solid conservative members of congress a forum to talk about policy. and reffive duncan is a very conservative member. he's very solid. and as someone from the rural west the federal land state area, i always get kind of worried when someone gets on the natural resources committee a conservative who isn't from the west. because, he doesn't all get all these issues. but he gets them. he's a great number of the natural resources committee. we have a competitive advantage in this country. we have huge amounts of energy. coal, oil, natural gas. we have over 200 years of coal. we now have over 100 years of natural gas. and nobody really knows how much
oil we have because as congressman duncan said, our offshore areas have not been explored. there is a prohibition on exploring the offshore areas that are not open to oil and gas production. so we're the only country in the world that doesn't know what its oil resources. now the fracking revolution the shale oil and gas revolution is due, not to government, but to the market. and that's our other big advantage. we have a very innovative competitive market. and that is what has created that revolution. our competitive disadvantage is the regulatory state. and all of these special interest handouts. favoritism towards some. we have in this country huge problems in getting anything permitted. that's why one of the big, important things in this bill is what representative duncan has
done to streamline permitting. and the most important is, he turns over oil and gas leasing on federal land to the states. now, it used to be that you could go out if you were trying -- if you had a blm lease, an oil lease you could go to the blm office and get a permit in a day to drill a well. on your lease. now it takes months. or years. that's why oil and gas production on federal land and offshore is going downhill. whereas on private land and state land, it's going up, up, up. so i would say that's a very important part of this bill, and you know we need to figure out how to maximize our competitive advantage here, which is we have the world's greatest energy resources. and minimize our competitive disadvantage, which is we have the most oppressive land use and natural resource regulations in the world. a big project in canada, under the environmental assessment
act, the harper government changed the law, the average was five years to get it permitted. the law has changed. they have to get it done now within three years. a big natural resource project in this country takes 10 to 20 years, if it ever gets done at all because the environmentalists have figured out that you can kill a project by delaying it to death. and that's what president obama is trying to do with the keystone pipeline. thank you. >> thank you. >> all right. let's open it up to questions from the audience. right down here. yes, sir. >> my name is james reed, george washington university. in the last six months we've seen oil drop from $100 a barrel down to $46. and i've read the market watch articles saying it's a falling knife where it can go below 40 30, i even read an article saying it could go to $14 a barrel. and my question is about given the opportunity to drill some of the shale companies might not
drill because the unprofitability of that so my question is what can congress do, what can policy experts do to incentivize these companies to drill in this climate of low oil prices? >> the question is with the plunging price of oil per barrel. does that disincentivize people to drill when it comes to shale? and if so, can we -- what are the things that we should be doing? should we be concerned about that? >> i'm not sure what the price point is for break-even for drilling in the backen. i do know one thing congress can do is try to lessen the regulation and the regulatory environment to make it easier. the price of a barrel of oil is higher, cost production of a price of a barrel of oil in this country is higher than anywhere else. you could think about the you think about the bakken where this activity is happening is on state and private land.
really the federal government -- and that really is attributability to past presidents who basically said we're not going to regulate state and private land, and that enabled it. and so i want to see more of that. maybe less of the federal government's involvement as a whole will help the folks be incentivized. when federal government gets involved in something the price usually goes up. >> i would just add that it's important to get the policy right now. and even if that doesn't incentivize necessarily more drilling at this point when that price point gets to a point where they can act on new fields, offshore or onshore it's important to open up those areas now so when the price rises, when the new equilibrium comes they'll be able to act on those new plays. different areas of the region have different cost measures because of the geologic makeup and it costs more to frac in one area of the country than it does others. lowering the regulatory cost is certainly an important part of that aspect. but that's why i think we really
just need to focus on opening these areas and letting the market determine when the businesses make these veesments and make these decisions, so when they can and when they want to we aren't in a place to be able to do it because of the laws. >> a year ago people said oil would never get below $100 a barrel. now we've got people saying it will never get to $100 a barrel. who knows. i think what nick has said is absolutely right and what representative duncan said about getting down the regulatory costs. i would just point out one example. in 1995 when the republicans took over congress they sent legislation to open the coastal plain of the arctic national wild life refuge to oral exploration. president clinton vetoed that legislation and the environmental defense, the environmental group defense of that was well, it won't help with the currently high gasoline prices, because it will take ten years before that oil starts flowing from anbar.
i believe we should have people in congress who think more than a couple months ahead. we need to think 10 20 years ahead. and that's why this bill is an important bill. >> you know i would just the last thing i'll say on this is that we've got to push back against these -- this desire to raise gasoline taxes right now. because oil prices are so low, they're not always going to be this low. and now is not a good time to raise taxes. moms and dads and businesses are just now starting to experience a little bit of economic incentive. i mean they're putting money in their pocket. it's cheaper to deliver the goods and services. it's cheaper to take the family out to eat. so why throw cold water on this economy? >> it compensates for the higher medical insurance costs. >> we have a question right here. >> thank you. congressman, i noted with satisfaction in the background that was handed out this conference about the expand act that you are calling for the
removal of special tax breaks for all energy sources. i wanted to -- i didn't see anything about the special limited liability considerations given to nuclear power. especially if you're going to be removing or easing the licensing and regulation requirements if you don't at the same time remove those special liability limitations, aren't you inviting the same kind of problems that occurred with the bailout of the big banks if there should be another three mile island and there would be a political reaction against this kind of legislation? >> can you repeat that -- >> let me just say this about nuclear power. that they cannot depreciate and capitalize -- some of the capital expenses for nuclear power. and that is causing the cost of nuclear reactors to go up. talked about in this bill, it's more of a tax policy issue.
but, if you look at the permitting, the billions of dollars of permitting costs for nuclear power and then you factor in the aspect that some of the capital expenditure can't be depreciated within that industry the way the other capital expenditures and investments can be, it's still a disincentive to make those investments. we're already talking about hundreds of billions of dollars anyway. so -- yes, sir? >> does your expand act allow for exports over energy resources? like they get to do up there in norway and canada and saudi arabia? or is there a prohibition against exports still remain under expand? thank you. >> you know, there's a lot of talk right now about exporting our own oil or actually allowing u.s. produced oil to be put out on the global market. and i don't have a firm opinion on that yet.
the free marketeer in me says that if you increase supply to meet demand then price goes down. the problem -- and i talked with jeff landry about this a little bit this morning because he's one of my go-to goes, but the refineries in this country aren't set up to refine a lot of the oil, the type of oil that's produced in the bakken it's more set up to produce -- or to refine sweet oil or sweet crude. so we import a lot of oil that goes to our refineries and produces all the products that a barrel of oil produces. and so we also got to address the refineries in this country and whether new refineries allowing the retooling of some of the refineries the way i understand it if we're ever going to allow the oil to be exported. and these gentlemen may know a little bit more about it than i do. >> it's a good question because i do think that's going to be one of the hot spots next year. nick, maybe if you could talk a little bit -- we support lifting the ban on crude. and it is kind of a interesting
issue even within the conservative movement because you have conservatives who come down on different sides of the aisle for different reasons. maybe if you could walk folks through why we're supportive of that. >> while he's doing that, i have a -- there was a vote that was cast last week you may have heard about it. i have some meetings with some of the leadership team this afternoon so i'm going to have to leave. and i do apologize for that. >> okay, tell them to be bold. >> okay. >> thank you to the congressman. [ applause ] go ahead, nick. >> at heritage we're a trade organization and energy is no exception. we think that oil, crude oil, natural gas should be treated you know, just like any other good or service that we trade regularly around the country. so we should lift the ban on crude oil exports. if there's been some concern among politicians that it's going to raise the gasoline
price, so we should be hesitant on doing so i would say, that one that shouldn't be a concern. but even so, because of what the congressman said about matching up refining capabilities, you're actually creating a more efficient oil distribution chain by getting this light oil to where it can be refined more efficiently in european markets where we can take on the heavier crudes from places like canada, and mexico. so it would actually lower gasoline prices in the intermediate run. so it's the same with natural gas. with lng exports we're pro-lng exports. we think that really the department of energy shouldn't be in the business of determining if natural gas exports should be in the public interest, which they have to do before we can export lng to nonfree trade agreement countries. it's a nonsensical barrier right now and yes it's going to take a long time for the u.s. to build those lng export terminals and actually get the natural gas to places where the price is much higher than it is in the united states. but again, it's about getting
the policy right now, so the private sector has the right incentive to act. >> well if i could add just one thing. i think, you know we've had this long kind of level of concern about national energy security, going back to the arab oil embargo and the nixon price control. and everybody has tried to work around the fact that we have all these energy resources that we're not using and that we're not producing. and we have to import more and more oil from the middle east and we don't like those people and it would be nicer not to buy oil from them. well, you know we're at a point now where we can produce a lot more oil and gas, and i think these national energy security arguments that there's some kind of band-aid fix for it, rather than simply producing more energy, those have disappeared. you know, the rationale for the
ethanol mandate. for the cafe standards for electric cars. all that rationale has gone. we have huge quantities of coal oil and natural gas and there's no reason that we can't benefit by using it, and by exporting it. and so i hope that the export bans will be lifted but the environmental groups are doing everything they can to stop the export of cole by blocking coal export terminals and unfortunately they control the governorships of the three western states which is a problem, specific states. and they're trying to block lng terminal permitting and trying to keep the ban on oil exports. i think this is a huge obstacle to our economic prosperity and i wish these national energy security people would realize that the problem has been solved. that the problem that they identify back in the '70s is no more.
time has passed them by. and it wasn't their policies that solved the problem. and so they need to rethink it, and i hope they do. >> thank you. we have time for one more question. all right i think -- yeah, actually why don't we close up? because we've got a big one coming on. thank you to the fannists. and if folks will take another ten-minute break, we'll have senator demint back on stage here in ten minutes. he'll be introducing senator cruz and then just to give a plug for you for the remaining two panels, we're going to have six of the really conservative guys who were elected in 2014 here after that to talk about what 2014 meant, what they think the american people were saying to them in this election. so that will be very interesting. don't forget -- please don't miss that. and jim jordan will wrap us up at the end talking about how conservatives can lead in this next congress. so we you all in ten minutes. thanks.
more now from the conservative policy summit. with remarks from texas senator ted cruz. he outlined proposals that he thinks the republican-led congress should take up in the new session. this is an hour. good afternoon. i don't think i'll say anything else. i don't usually get applause after i speak. so it is good to get it over with before i start, i guess. it's been a great day. we got a chance to pick some of it up online. thanks. we're getting a lot of coverage around the country, good ideas, good discussion. but i can't think of anyone i'd rather introduce right now than ted cruz. there are very few people i know in any organization, especially in congress, who have the intellectual capability to understand complex problems, to actually come up with good
solutions. but then to have the courage, the personal fortitude to actually push those ideas through and to stand up to incredible pressure, the kind of pressure i was talking about this morning from all the big cronies in washington that want to maintain the status quo. ted cruz has been willing to stand up and say, no. i was talking to him on the way in. i said things seem to be going pretty well. he said it is like the guy who's falling off the building. every floor he goes by, he says, so far, so good. i know that feeling. the bottom is coming. right? i think ted cruz is definitely on his way up and that's what i hear around the country. not so much thanks for what you've done or all the victories you've won, but more than anything else i hear, thanks for fighting. that's what people want, is someone to just stand up for what they believe, stand up for the values of americans and just do what you can.
election come august, september, october. you know, one of the first signs, jim, suddenly the democratic senators were nice to us. they were looking ahead to election day and you'd be on the elevator, they'd say, hey, what a great tie that is. have you lost weight? you're looking sharp. like, okay, so contemplating losing that chairman's gavel, are you? it was an astonishing election in november. but it's important to understand what the election signifies. the election was not an embrace of republicans. the election was not an embrace
of one party. instead, the election, in my view, was the voters roundly repudiating the path we're on. this was an election which the voters said, listen. the obama economy, it ain't working. we want something different. we want real leadership. i got to say, republicans have an opportunity, an incredible opportunity right now. we have been once again entrusted with leadership in congress. and i want to say thank you to heritage action for hosting this event. because as i understand this event, the core focus is you got a majority, what are you going to do with it? and you know, there's a division of thought in this town. there are some people in this
town who will intone in gravelly voices, we need to get things done. oddly enough, the people saying that, it doesn't really matter what those things are. there are voices who will say, if you stand for anything u significant that has electoral risk. i remember in the last two years people said, no, no, republicans, you shouldn't stand and fight on anything because you don't have a majority. okay. we have a majority. mark my words, suddenly there are voices that are saying, you still shouldn't stand and fight.
you hear another voice say, no, not yet, you don't have 60. i'm going to suggest a different way to get things done, a different way to govern, and a different way to win elections. i'm going to suggest a different way to get things done a different way to govern, and a different way to win elections. listen, i very much agree with president ronald reagan who said the republican party is not a fraternal order. it's not simply about palling around with guys in red sweaters instead of blue sweaters. it is a movement unified around a shared set of ideals, liberty, the constitution, and it matters
only insofar as we are standing up and defending those constitutional values. and so what i would encourage my friends, my colleagues in the republican party, in the senate tùñ very, very simple. let's stand up and lead. let's lead with a big, bold, positive agenda that says to the american people, you had a referendum and you rejected the obama agenda. there is a better way. that's our opportunity. i'll tell you, for all the republicans intoning we must get things done, if we simply settle into business as usual in this town and keep growing and growing and growing the
leviathan and keep shrinking and shrinking and shrinking that sphere of individual liberty, we will demoralize the millions of men and women who came out in november and gave republicans the biggest majority in the house since the 1920s. not only will we not win elections, we'll get walloped, and we'll deserve to get walloped. what i would urge my colleagues to do is very, very simple. you know, it is the advice -- a lot of us here have kids. everyone of us has told our kids, tell the truth and do what you said you would do. that is the advice i would give every one of our colleagues. you know, it is striking in the senate. two years ago i remember joining the other republican freshmen in
mitch mcconnell's office. there were three of us. it was lonely. it was really lonely. we had enough for a game of spades. this year, there are 12 republican freshmen. a dozen. nearly a quarter of the republican conference are freshmen. i'll tell you what i've encouraged every freshman, is that if each of you that just fought and clawed to win an election, if each of you in the conference simply stands up every day and says, hey, let's do what we said we would do, that will have a transformational effect on the united states senate. if each and every senator. in january answers questions the exact same way we would have answered those questions in october, before the election,
that will have a transformative effect. in my view, republicans should take this opportunity to lead with a big, bold agenda that focuses on jobs, on liberty, and on security. and let me talk about ten specific agenda items that we should take up and pass. and these are agenda items that i laid out before the election. if we want a majority, this is [yñi what we should do. and after the election, my view, shock of all shocks, is we should do exactly what we said before the election. step number one. embrace a big positive jobs growth and opportunity agenda. that means a host of things. it means, for example, as we will do this week, finally, finally, finally passing the keystone pipeline. but listen, jobs are a lot more
than keystone. keystone matters. it is an example of partisan politics trumping common sense in this town. but we need a jobs agenda, an energy agenda far broader than that. we've seen incredible growth in the energy sector in the last several years. last year i introduced the american energy renaissance act, a comprehensive piece of legislation to remove the federal barriers to creating millions of high-paying jobs in the private sector, in the energy sector. not just in energy. low-cost energy is also bringing manufacturing jobs back, bringing steel jobs back, bringing the kind of jobs that built the dignity of the middle class in america. we need to pass legislation making clear that the federal
government has no authority to regulate or prohibit fracking, that the state's are perfectly poised to make determinations in their own states and there's no need for the feds to stick their those in the middle of it. we need to remove the arbitrary export bans on liquid natural gas on crude oil. we need to open up federal lands to exploration 4o;ic+elopment. president obama loves to brag about the energy exploration during his tenure without noting that virtually all of it has happened on private land, and federal land. the federal government has been standing as an impediment as a barrier to developing those resources. number two, we need to do everything humanly possible to repeal obamacare.
you know, five years ago when obamacare was being debated, reasonable minds perhaps could have differed over whether this thing might work. today seeing the devastation, seeing the train wreck, seeing the millions of americans who have lost their jobs who have been forced into part-time work who have lost their health care, who have lost their doctors. today the only reasonable, prudent outcome is to acknowledge this thing isn't working and we need to repeal it and start over. what does that mean? what does that mean with president obama still in the
white house? well, first of all in my mind, congress should take up in using every procedural tool available, including reconciliation, repeal obamacare with 51 votes in the senate. now if the president is very, very likely to veto that. for the next two years we're not going to have the votes to override that veto. what we then need to do is systematically begin teeing up legislation after legislation addressing the most harmful consequences of obamacare, providing real relief to the millions of people who are hurting. for example, we need to introduce legislation, take it up and vote on it saying if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan. the president repeatedly looked in the tv cameras and made that promise over and over and over again. we need to codify it for the 6 million people who had their health insurance plans canceled
because of obamacare. we need to address the pain the federal government has caused to them. i would note that also puts democrats in an interesting position. there are lots of senate democrats who say, well, gosh, i like obamacare in the abstract but there are individual problems with it. okay, let's start talking about those individual problems. one after the other after the other, you decide as a senate democrat if you're in favor of the federal government causing people to lose their health insurance plans or not. you decide if you're a senate democrat if you're in favor of the federal government bailing out giant insurance companies or not. we need to pass straightforward legislation that prohibits federal government bailouts in insurance companies. one after the other after the other we need to pass these.
now one of two things is going to happen. one, the democrats block it either through filibuster in the senate or through the president vetoing it, or, two, they pass it along.>uhe if the latter we begin to provide meaningful relief to the people who are really hurting and if the former, there is absolute clarity as to where the parties stand and what we stand for. but jñ 'jjju$ose commitments. number three, we need to finally secure the border and stop the president's unconstitutional amnesty. you know, it is amazing, right now the white house is castigating republicans, how dare you focus on securing the border, literally at the very
same time we are seeing terrorists trying to murder % from the border. explain to those of us who live in states on the border how wonderfully secure the border really is. i have a modest suggestion. perhaps we should move the white house down to the rio grande valley. after all, there can't be more people climbing the white house
fence than there are now. you know, when you go down to the valley, and in texas we have a nearly 2,000-mile border on the southern border. what you hear from people who live there, what you hear from law enforcement, from local elected officials, and by the way, from republicans and democrats, is secure the borders and protect our security. it's a basic common sense issue. when it comes to amnesty, anyone who's concerned about rule of law, anyone who is concerned about separation of powers, anyone who believes in the constitution should be deeply, deeply dismayed. by the president's decree that he will simply ignore federal law. when he unilaterally tried to grant amnesty to millions of voters -- i said voters.
what's interesting about the president's approach on this is it seems like it is always, always, always political. before the election, president obama said this election will be a referendum on my policies. every one of my policies will be on the ballot. president obama was right. words that have not been said often at the heritage foundation. but you better believe if the senate democrats had been re-elected, if harry reid had grown his majority, the president would have gotten up and opined "the people have spoken, and they have embraced my agenda." instead, the president got up and said, the people who didn't vote have spoken. never mind those pesky people that actually showed up and
expressed their views. let me say something about both obamacare and amnesty. we brought michael j. fox up here in a delorean and we went back in time to october of 2014, not too long ago. you would see republican candidates all over the country in october of 2014 saying, if wo÷ you elect us, if you give us a republican majority, what will we do?9 number one, we're going to fight tooth and nail to repeal obamacare. the number one topic republican candidates raised on the campaign trail. and number two, if you elect us, if you give us a republican majority, we're going to stop president obama's illegal and unconstitutional amnesty.3wv that was just over two months ago.++p'd yet now when the topics come
up, at times you hear crickets chirping. it ain't complicated. we need to do what we said we would do. number four, we need to hold government accountable and rein ñ in judicial activism. this new senate is going to provide, i hope and believe, is real meaningful oversight of thezv obama administration, of the abuse of power, of the lawlessness, of the regulatory abuse.." conducting careful, sober, -v serious inquiries into the abuse of power and the millions of people who are hurting because of it. i am looking forward to seeing ñvs+ed states senate finally
begin doing its job. for six years harry reid has been barack obama's most ñi important protector. i'm looking forward to seeing ok serious inquiries into the trampling of religious libertieshte1 that have occurred over the last six months. i'm looking forward to seeing finally some real scrutiny to prevent judicial activists from xd:ki being put on the bench who will impose their own radical agenda,s+a including, sadly, the judicial activism we have seen in recent months with the courts effectively striking down the marriage laws in 33 states.ym constitution makes clear marriage is a question for the states. it's not a quesíip unch of unelected federal judges who may disagree with the democratic views of the peopl!1t_jur' fáxzré.x l0f(ñddbb;á
the united states of america. number five.) i it's time to stop the culture of corruption. i've said a lot of times that z@w÷ the biggest divide we have in this country politically is not between republicans and 9 democrats. it's not between the establishment and the tea party. as the friends in our media likec to write about. it is instead between career politicians in washington in [ñok both parties and the american people. now i am hopeful we will see real bold leadership from republicans this year and next. but i got to say, the lame duck was aptly named. it was not +.:=ui the giant pile of corporate welfare being the first things republicans rushed to pass
ban on members of congress becoming lobbyists and coming back after serving in this job. we need to pass fundamental tax reform making our tax code simpler, flatter, fairer. and i'll tell you, the single most important tax reform, we should abolish the irs. now the voices of washington txkhef8kp will say, tsk, tsk, that is inconsistent with getting things done. now i will note, some years ago steve forbes did a remarkable job starting to build the foundation for a flat tax. ñ a simple flat tax that is fair, that every american could fill
out his or her taxes on a postcard. the last two years i believe have fundamentally changed the dynamics of this debate. as we have seen the weaponization of the irs, as we have seen the obama administration using the irs in a partisan manner to punish its political enemies. in my view, there is a powerful populist instinct. to take the 110,000 employees at the irs, to padlock the building, and to put all 110,000 of them down on our southern border. now, i say that somewhat tongue in cheek. but you got to think, look, if you were coming illegally into this country, if you had
traveled hundreds of thousands of miles in the grinding heat, if you swam across the rio grande and the first thing you saw was 110,000 irs agents? you'd turn around and go home, too. it may well be the case that we won't succeed. in abolishing the irs and adopting a flat tax with barack obama in the white house. we may have to wait two years for a republican president to lead that fight. but what we can do in the interim is we can one after the other after the other tee up simplification of the tax code. make the burden easier. reduce the burdens, reduce the power of washington which produces growth, which unchanged the citizenry.
and weakens the course of power in washington. number seven, we need to audit the federal reserve. you know, one of the most corrosive things we have seen over the last six years has been an easy money policy. qe1, qe2, qe-infinity.q and, i'm reminded of john edwards' speech, two americas. john edwards, in this respect, was right. another sentence rarely said in heritage. if you go to wall street, if you go to those with wealth and
power who walk the corridors of power in the obama administration, the conventional view is, easy money is great. the conventional view is we're not seeing significant inflation. but i'll tell you if you go talk to working men if you go talk to an hispanic laborer, like my father was when he came to this country. if you go talk to a single mom who's waiting tables at a diner, they've seen the price of milk go up. price of chicken go up. price of ground beef go up. they had seen until recently the price of gasoline go up. they've seen the price of electricity go up. they've seen their health
insurance. they were promised a $2,500 cut. instead they've seen it rise over $3,000 a family. and they have also seen median wages stagnate for some two decades now. if you're a single mom trying to pay the bills and the cost of everything you're spending keeps going up and up and up and up, and the one thing that doesn't move is your paycheck every two weeks, you're feeling the consequence of washington's easy money policies. we need stable, consistent, strong monetary policies. number eight, it is long past>9
get out of this god forsaken town and go to anywhere in america and talk to real life people. doesn't matter what party. republican, democrat, independent, libertarian and lay out some basic principles, live within your means. don't bankrupt our kids and grandkids. follow the constitution. there's nary a room in this
country outside of washington, d.c. where the entire room wouldn't agree with this. it's only in washington that when you say we should stop piling debt higher and higher and higher on our kids that that statement is viewed as radical. extreme. it's only the views of the vast majority of americans, it's only basic common sense. when barack obama became president six years ago, our national debt was just over $10 trillion. today it's $18 trillion. that's larger than the size of our entire economy once and for all, all of the republicans who campaigned saying, we're going to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids, lets follow through and do that the best way is to put in the constitution strong
protections to prevent congress from continuing to dig this hole deeper and deeper and deeper. [ applause ] number nine. we need to repeal common core. [ applause ] we need to get the federal government out of the business of dictating educational standards. that would be the nsa interested in what we're saying. you know education is far too important for it to be governed by unelected bureaucrats in washington. it should be at the state level or even better, at the local level. and we need to at the same time embrace and champion school choice for every child in
america. every child has a right to access a quality education regardless of race regardless of ethnicity regardless of religion regardless of soes yo economic status. in my view, school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. and i've got to say the differences on this issue are stark. new york mayor's bill de blasio he tried to throw young african american kids out of the schools that were performing for them in harlem. it's a sad thing to see politicians more interested in pleasing the union bosses who are writing checks to him, than taking care of the kids who desperately wantpjj0ñ hope and a ray of opportunity for the future. it's a sad thing to see the u.s. department of justice coming against young african american and hispanic kids in louisiana,
saying we're going to try to shut down your opportunity to get access to a better education. we're coming up on martin luther king day, i can think of nothing that would be a greater legacy for dr. king than for us to embrace across parties, across race, and across lines that we are united in saying every kid has a right to a quality education, regardless of who they are. and finally, we've got to deal seriously with the twin threats of isis and a nuclear iran. listen, these are dangerous times.
this past week we've been stunned to see radical islamic terrorists murdering innocents in paris. our hearts weep for the journalists wrongfully murdered for the police officers targeted and murdered, for the jewish customers at a groceryñr store. murdered because ofjf whod are. and this is part in parsele of a long -- parcel of a longer pattern across the globe.ñi in recent months, we have seen radical islamic terrorists attacking in sydney, in canada, in israel, hamas terrorists coming e and murdering isra
synagogue as they pray. we've seen isis beheadingxd journalists, we've seen the taliban murdering school children. in pakistan. we've seen boko haram kidnapping little girls, and murdering thousands. these are not isolatedé@ incidents, these are not challenges for law enforcement. this is a concerted, radical, dangerous attack that seeks to undermine the very basis of free civilization. look at who they're targeting. journalists, children, police
officers officers. and they don't discriminate between americans, israelis, they target the6sgñwest. and yet, you cannot win a war against radical islamic terrorism with an administration that is unwilling to utter the words, radical islamic terrorists. these were not off presbyterians, and we will not effectively combat what we're facing uv(x1 we acknowledge what we are facing. now i will note just recently the president in egypt gave a courageous and anq important speech. far
for a muslim leader, he stood up and urged peaceful muslims to stand up against this corruption of3w-9 their faith. that is urging people to murder in the name and3w that starts to lay out, we need allies who will take this on. but i've got to say it is hard to enlist the support of allies. when america ceases being a good ally. how sad was it in the streets of paris, as 40 world leaders walked down the cehzstreet absent with the united states of america. where was the president? where was the vice president? where was the secretary of state? where was the attorney general who'd been there moments before?
but chose to get on a plane and flye1q back home. and all of us remember september 11th ñr2001 i was living here in washington, d.c., just south of the pentagon. my wife was working at theu+x white house. i remember her having to pull off her shoes and walk barefoot across memorial bridge because she couldn't get tofá her car. i remember theíoñ putrid stink in the air of thelp smoldering pentagon. i willa1áñ in the immediate aftermath of september apy6 n nations across the world camer and stood with america. the nation of france stood with america. it was sad an410é $coxlnwo)gf[ we have not seen that same leadership from this administration.
of seriousness and purpose that lack of resolve is profoundly dangerous, it's dangerous because it encourages radical islamic terrorists to redouble s4 dangerous because nations like iran see that weakness the single gravest threat to our national security is the threat of iran acquiring nuclear weapon capability. and this administration seems bound and determined toht go down the road of a full, hearty deal. indeed, the deputy national security advisor of this administration described that an iran nuclear deal$x would be the obamacare of thed those are his words. so that's a comforting
commitment. one of the things imy hope we see from this new majority in congress, is meaningful oversight and leadership to restore america's leadership in the world. i hope we see congress hold this administration accountable and do everything we can so that we stand withr allies, and we demonstrate the resolve that is necessary to stand up to those who pose serious threats to the national security of this country, to those who would seek to murder innocent americans. that's what we need3j%ñ from a republican majority. is bold, positive leadership on jobs, on liberty onpsecurity, we need to demonstrate that we believe the words we said on the