Focusing on domestic energy production

As I wrap up another week in the other Washington – all the way across the country from the one I call “home” – I am reminded of the wisdom left behind by one of America’s greatest leaders, President Ronald Reagan. He once said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” And whenever I am home – meeting with small business owners struggling to expand, local health care providers wrought with uncertainty, and recent college graduates unable to find jobs – I’m reminded of his words and of his wisdom. He was right: all great change does begin at home. It begins with you.  And it is because of you – your involvement, your advocacy, and your stories – that I fight every day here in this Washington to make the other one better.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get phone calls, letters and e-mails with stories that motivate me to fight harder.  Stories from families that can’t fill up their gas tanks, find new jobs, or afford to pay increasing health insurance premiums. They’re the stories of moms and dads, seniors and children.  They’re the stories that inspired me to run for Congress eight years ago and the ones that keep me here today.

One of Eastern Washington’s greatest resources is its vast supply of renewable energy and the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that accompanies it. And so I’m focusing every day on domestic energy – of which Eastern Washington has a unique and unlimited supply – to lower your gas prices and promote economic growth back at home.  Just this week, I joined with my colleagues across the aisle to pass the bipartisan Domestic Energy and Jobs Act - a jobs package that includes crucial measures to increase American energy production and reduce the regulatory red tape that drives up your gas prices. It comprises seven important bills, all of which would spur job growth, promote energy security, and make this country more energy independent. 

We can no longer rely on unstable foreign countries for our oil supply. We can no longer say “no” to job-creating projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline.  And we can no longer afford rising gas prices. It’s time we start saying “yes” to American energy. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.

As a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I’m proud that my bipartisan bill, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, passed in the full committee this week. As it makes its way to the House floor, I am optimistic that both Democrats and Republicans will appreciate the innumerable benefits of hydropower. Hydropower is clean, affordable, reliable and renewable.  It already provides 75 percent of electricity to Eastern Washington and the Pacific Northwest region, and I am eager to expand its production to the rest of the country.  It was President Obama himself who promoted an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. It’s time to make sure hydropower is part of it.

It’s been a very busy week here in Congress – full of vigorous debate, bipartisan compromise, and legislative victory. But at night, when I’m walking through the quiet halls of the United States Capitol, I recall the conversations I have with my family around the dinner table. And they’re the same ones you have in your homes. They’re not about GDP percentages or CBO scores or bill numbers.  They’re about real people, the challenges they face, and how effective legislation can improve their lives.  They are the essence of why I am in Congress, why I legislate for Eastern Washington, and why I fight for you. And it’s a fight I’m honored to lead.   

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