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Next Week in Corporate Congress: Energy Attack

Business for Democracy

Amid the chaos of House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation, the Corporate Congress next week still will find time to undermine the public interest, with a particular emphasis on energy:

  • At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will pick apart President Barack Obama’s efforts to make our air cleaner. According to the name of the hearing, lawmakers will focus on the economic implications of Obama’s “air agenda.” We expect they will downplay the benefits of pollutant-free air, such as fewer cases of asthma, respiratory illnesses and premature death.
  • At 10 a.m. Thursday, the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee will mark up a bill to lift the country’s longtime ban on oil exports. As Public Citizen has told lawmakers (PDF), this is a bad idea. Lifting the export ban would erode domestic surplus stockpiles and allow domestic producers to sell oil oversees for higher prices than what they charge in the U.S. This would result in higher gasoline prices for U.S. motorists and small businesses. What’s more, ending the oil export ban would do little to advance perceived U.S. geopolitical interests regarding Russia, China and elements of the Middle East without simultaneously impacting energy supplies and prices in the U.S. market.

Budget riders

Regardless of who becomes the next House speaker, once Congress moves to adopt an omnibus funding package, it will be forced to grapple with an array of dangerous policy riders on appropriations bills – riders that have no business being attached to funding legislation.

Riders being proposed would jeopardize policies that restrain Wall Street abuses; guarantee clean air, food and water; ensure safe consumer products and continued access to vital health care services; keep homes and workplaces safe; prevent consumer rip-offs; and hold big corporations accountable for wrongdoing.

A coalition of 180 groups has urged (PDF) all 535 members of Congress and the White House to oppose spending bills that contain inappropriate and ideological policy riders. A separate coalition called on Obama to veto (PDF) any spending bills containing riders that would further weaken our nation’s campaign finance laws. Meanwhile, Public Citizen’s petition telling congressional leaders to pass a clean budget without riders has garnered more than 25,500 signatures.