Ed Whitfield

Kentucky “Deficit Hawks” Pushing Questionable Energy Scheme

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April 20, 2012
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Politico takes a look at the “deficit hawks” who ignore their supposed positions when its in their own interests and they start the article by highlighting the fierce Kentucky threesome of Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and Ed Whitfield (only one of whom could realilistically be called anything close to “a deficit hawk”):

he Kentucky Republican rode into the Senate last year as a libertarian standard-bearer, promising to shrink the government’s reach and spending power. But as a senator, he has championed the cause of USEC, a company that runs a uranium enrichment plant in Paducah that threatens to close in May, wiping out 1,200 jobs.

So along with fellow GOP lawmakers from Kentucky — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Ed Whitfield — Paul has spent much of the past year pressuring the Obama administration to extend new uranium re-enrichment contracts to help keep the plant afloat. Paul’s tactics have included blocking nominations of five Energy Department appointees, one of whom remains in limbo.

Skeptics have expressed doubts about whether a new enrichment contract would allow the plant to operate profitably — it also needs a new power agreement once its current deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority expires — and say it would commit taxpayer dollars in the short term. Still, Paul made his pitch for the enrichment work to Energy Secretary Steven Chu during a February committee hearing.

Read onward, nuclear soldier…

Ed Whitfield and Ben Chandler vote against ALL proposed budget plans

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April 2, 2012
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In a show of bipartisanship, Kentucky’s 1st District Congressman, Ed Whitfield, and 6th District Congressman, Ben Chandler, joined forces to vote against every single proposed budget for the United States of America.

Says The Hill:

In all, nine Democrats and five Republicans pulled the “no” lever on all seven budgets the House considered on Wednesday and Thursday, which included offerings of all ideological stripes.

Last year there were nearly two dozen “none of the above” voters, this year just 14… and two of them from Kentucky!

The Blue Dog Coalition, the ineffectual group of which Ben Chandler is a member, split somewhat, with some of them voting for one budget or another (and one of them even proposed a budget). But no, not all Blue Dogs.

Six other members of the coalition – Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) – voted for none of the budgets, and none of their offices returned a request for comment.

Since no one has any idea why Chandler couldn’t find one of the budgets worth supporting, perhaps he was following Ed’s lead?

Three Republicans – Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.), David McKinley (W.Va.) and Denny Rehberg (Mont.) – also supported none of the budgets for a second consecutive year.

McKinley and Rehberg have opposed the Ryan budget both years because of its cuts to Medicare, which the West Virginia Republican labeled “drastic” on Thursday.

But the GOP House members who voted against all budgets – who also include Reps. John Duncan (Tenn.) and Ed Whitfield (Ky.) – also generally said that none of the budgets cut spending enough.

Read on…

Oh… and that Paul Ryan budget that makes cuts so extreme to Medicare two conservative Republicans couldn’t stomach voting for it… is supported by Chandler’s opponent, Garland Barr IV. Lucky for Andy, the NRCC is taking him to school to teach him how to pander to Tea Partiers better and maybe understand what he’s doing as a candidate.

You’re Welcome, America; Kentucky’s Ed Whitfield leads battle to mislead the country on gas prices

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March 22, 2012
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The Republican House controlled Energy Committee held show-hearings on tar sands and, led by Kentucky’s own Ed Whitfield, endorsed the idea of tar sands extraction:

“Canadian regulators seek to make energy production safe, while the Obama administration’s regulators often seek to make it impossible,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, the Republican chairman of the subcommittee.

Whitfield, no expert on Canadian regulations let alone on creating jobs in Kentucky (the Keystone XL Pipeline doesn’t create any jobs for Kentucky), was unbowed in the face of Canadian testimony to the contrary:

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, an aboriginal Canadian and advocate from Greenpeace, told lawmakers that Canadian governments have shown little respect for environmental laws.

“In reality Canada and more specifically the province of Alberta have a lax and failing environmental monitoring system with little enforcement for its own laws when it comes to producing the tar sands,” she said.

Critics of tar sands say its corrosive nature makes it more likely to cause pipeline failures. They also claim it’s more energy-intensive to utilize.

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., who led the hearing, praised Canada’s environmental record, however, saying the United States could learn from its neighbors to the north.

Funny who Ed Whitfield believes we could learn from Canadians on some laws while, in the case of Universal Health Care, he believes the opposite.

As Whitfield leads the Republican Party’s effort to push through an unsafe pipeline plan on the American heartland’s water supply, the President is pushing back, restating what he’s said all along, that the pipeline isn’t a terrible idea if it’s done safely — something the Republican Party has zero interest in:

Obama is expected to publicly embrace part of the Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday by visiting a TransCanada facility and issuing an executive order on federal permitting of infrastructure projects that “will require agencies to make faster permitting and review decisions for vital infrastructure projects while protecting the health and vitality of local communities and the environment,” the White House said.

As for the portion of Keystone from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, the White House said Obama will “issue a specific memorandum in Cushing directing federal agencies to expedite the Cushing Pipeline.”

The White House has consistently said that Obama rejected the full Canada-to-Texas pipeline in January because Congress cut short the environmental review process and has cited bipartisan opposition to the proposed route through Nebraska.

The Whitfield/GOP line of debate is pushing two things here. They are now tying their incessant Keystone/Big Oil $$$ giveaway — something they’ve been trying to make resonant with voters for about a year — to the more recent issue of increased gas prices. Whitfield and the Republicans have long pushed the dangerous pipeline plan, the President has long pressed for a safer pipeline plan, and now that gas prices are soaring, Kentucky’s own Ed Whitfield is trying to tie the two together:

With gasoline reaching $3.86 a gallon in the U.S. and apparently heading higher, the public is impatient for Obama — or someone in his place — to do something about it.

In truth, a president has little direct control over gas prices, which have risen more than 50 cents a gallon since January in response to a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program that has threatened to disrupt Middle East oil supplies.

Well aware of Republicans’ criticism, Obama’s advisers argue that voters take a sophisticated view toward energy and think about it as a problem demanding long-term answers. They know that talk about future solutions may not satisfy people as they endure high prices, but they’re betting that voters will side with the candidate they trust the most to deal with the issue — and they’re determined that that will be Obama.

While this is yet another example of how the state of Kentucky is controlling the political dialogue of America — a state of 3 million dictating the policies governing 300 million — it is also a further exercise in the Republican Party’s deceitful approach to reality.

Gas prices are now at $3.86… but in the 2008, under George W. Bush — after 8 years of deregulation and expanded, reckless drilling — gas hit a high of $4.27.

The reality is that the President can’t really control the price of oil.

The reality is the Republican Party is lying when they claim domestic production will magically create lower gas prices. They are motivated by their allegiance to the oil industry, which just gets richer and richer. And they are ignoring the facts.

The Associated Press just put out a 36-year study of inflation-adjusted gas prices and it clearly shows that increased domestic drilling does not reduce gas prices:

More U.S. oil production doesn’t mean consistently lower prices at the pump, the analysis found.

Sometimes prices increase as American drilling ramps up. That’s what has happened in the past three years. Since February 2009, U.S. oil production has risen 15 percent when seasonally adjusted. Prices in those three years went from $2.07 per gallon to $3.58.

U.S. oil production is back to the same level it was in March 2003, when gas cost $2.10 per gallon when adjusted for inflation. But that’s not what prices are now. Instead, Americans are paying the highest gas prices ever for March.

That’s because oil is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.

But don’t mind the facts, America.

Just thank Ed Whitfield and the state of Kentucky for leading you down the path to ruin. Again.

 

Republicans Push Energy War whilest also pushing compromised Presidential Candidate

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March 6, 2012
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The Republican Party (with the help of some Blue Dogs) are trying to turn coal into an election-season issue, according to the Rush Limbaugh of print media, The Washington Times. Speaker Boner wrote a tear-blotched letter to the President citing exaggerated statistics from the Coal Industry as a evidence that Obama is destroying America.

“These rules, the most expensive in EPA history, stand to cost 180,000 American jobs per year and would force the premature retirement of 12 percent of America’s coal-fired energy generation,” he said.

Mr. Boehner’s comments were based on a report sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and released in September.

In late February, a bipartisan group of 219 members of Congress led by Reps. Ed Whitfield, Kentucky Republican, and John Barrow, Georgia Democrat, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling for a stop to the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule-making.

“Affordable, reliable electricity is critical to keeping and growing jobs in the United States, and such a standard will likely drive up energy prices and threaten domestic jobs,” they wrote.

As you see there, Ed Whitfield is again leading the charge. Bought and paid for by the energy industry, Whitfield continues to be one of the most vocal leaders in Washington pushing the industry friendly agenda at cost to actual living breathing people and in benefit to non-breathing corporation-people.

Hal Rogers isn’t one to get left behind, so he too is playing this game, though his latest salvo was an incorrect observation about snails and the XL Pipeline which provides no jobs for Kentucky and is justified on drastically overblown industry statistics (you don’t say!) on “job creation” while putting the heartland’s water system at great risk.

“Talk about snail’s pace,” Rogers said at a hearing on the State Department’s 2013 budget, musing that a snail could have crawled the route of the proposed pipeline, from the Canadian border to the Gulf Coast, within the 40-month review period.

“That’s one speedy snail, Mr. Chairman,” responded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s right. It would take the average garden snail about 67 months to crawl in a straight line from the Canadian border to Houston.

For all you Republicans (or your Republican friends) who think Rogers, Whitfield and Boehner are right-on and that corporations conducting studies on behalf of themselves would never lie to them, the GOP Presidential race continues to prove that Mitt Romney is a compromised candidate not to be trusted. As The Politico reports, green-friendly billionaire Republican forces have given millions to Romney’s campaign and Super PACs, betting that could Romney win the Primary and then the Election his recent gravitation to a hard-right, pro-coal, anti-environment stance (which is directly at odds with his actual record and yet further evidence no conservative should trust him let alone vote for him), then Mitt Romney would flip-flop his position and sell out the very energy industry he’s currently so passionately defending:

Other green-minded financial backers may not be giving as much as Robertson, but they still share the view that climate-change science and a solid environmental agenda wouldn’t be a lost cause if Romney won the White House.

“My feeling is that on these issues that people learn,” said former Gov. Thomas Kean (R-N.J.), who maxed out last fall to Romney with a $2,500 check. “And my hope is, as time goes on, he will understand that not everybody agrees on how you deal with these issues, but I hope he will agree with 99 percent of the scientists who believe this is an issue that we have to deal with.”

….Rob Sisson, president of the Republicans for Environmental Protection, said he’s scraping together personal funds to write a check to the Romney campaign after getting a chance to meet him for the first time last month during a town hall campaign stop in Kalamazoo, Mich.“I think his record as governor was pretty good as far as Republicans go,” said Sisson, who also gave $1,000 last June to Jon Huntsman’s campaign. “I really get the sense from him and the folks around him with whom I’ve spoken that as president he’d really look at each situation, gather the data and really make a decision that’s best for the country.”

“If that goes against the grain of how he’s campaigning now, so be it.”

Read the rest, it’s good fun.

Whitfield leads GOP strategy to force pipeline

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January 18, 2012
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With news coming that the White House and State Department have rejected the environmentally dangerous and questionably beneficial Keystone XL pipeline, Kentucky’s fossil fuel frontman Ed Whitfield is heading up a new strategy.

The Hill:

Top House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, bracing for White House rejection of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, mulled plans to force approval of the controversial project at a meeting Tuesday.

Two senior committee members said Tuesday evening that options include Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill that would place the permit decision in the hands of independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), taking it away from the State Department.

“If we can somehow or other get it over to FERC, so that [Obama] is not involved in the decision-making, that is something that we could consider doing,” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), the head of the panel’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, told reporters in the Capitol.

350.org has led the fight against this bad deal from the start and while they appear to have won this round, they are ready for more:

Clearly, this fight isn’t over. Big Oil will do everything it can to overturn that decision, because they are not used to losing. They have one weapon—money. They’ve used it to buy the allegiance of many Representatives and Senators and now they’ll use Congress to try and get their dirty work done.

Ed Whitfield to spend less time with his family

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January 12, 2012
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Unlike fellow GOP Congressman Geofferson Davis, who recently announced he’d not seek re-election in order to “spend more time with his family,” Ed Whitfield is headed back to Washington for more, announcing his candidacy for an 8th term in Congress… the quintessential Washington insider.

Here’s his exciting set of priorities:

“Our first priority must be to put American’s back to work,” said Whitfield. “That means producing our own energy with Kentucky coal, completing the Keystone oil and gas pipeline, and developing all practical forms of low cost energy. It also means paying down our debt, controlling our spending, and ending job killing federal regulations like regulating farm dust, the Obama healthcare law, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s out of control assault on job creation through regulatory rule making.”

It’s worth pointing out, again, the Keystone pipeline doesn’t appear to create any jobs for Kentucky (not to mention the fact the jobs it supposedly creates are drastically inflated).

As for his other ideas, if the voters of the 1st District are dumb enough to believe environmental protections that keep them all from drinking poison water (or, more poisoned water) are the cause of America’s economic turmoil… then Ed Whitfield is actually the perfect man to represent them.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, no one has filed to run against Whitfield yet, neither Dem nor anti-establishment Tea Party type who’s seen enough of Ed “Part of the Problem” Whitfield.

Ben Chandler Needs Your Help…

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December 13, 2011
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The Hill reports:

Republicans in the House are targeting nine Democratic House members over Democratic opposition to the Keystone pipeline project, claiming Democrats and President Obama are standing in the way of the creation of 130,000 jobs.

The ads target Democrats in areas with large union membership and highlight a rare issue that aligns unions with Republicans and against Democrats.

The National Republican Congressional Committee sponsored Web ads featuring videos targeting Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Betty Sutton (Ohio).

….Voters in the districts held by those five members will also be receiving robo-calls instructing them to urge their member to buck the White House and support the pipeline. Those calls will also go out to the districts of Democratic Reps. Ben Chandler (Ky.), Dave Loebsack (Iowa), Michael Michaud (Maine) and Tim Walz (Minn.).

It’s kind of hilarious that the NRCC couldn’t afford to make four other web ads. They’re all the same, they just swap out a picture at the end and pay Voice Over Man to say four different names. They don’t even have to pay for airtime.

Still. At least we get robocalls. At least we’re worth that much.

The pipeline deal in question is being pushed by Ed Whitfield and Mitch McConnell. They’re using it to derail the payroll tax debate and obviously they expect it will do just that and there will be more votes to come on the issue.

Here’s one of the web ads the NRCC was able to fund, and presumably the robocalls will hold tight to this basic message:

Lotta jobs that thing’d create, huh? Except, as ThinkProgress reported a month ago, a lot of the numbers are based on a report financed by the company that wants to build the pipeline and the numbers are — what! — inflated:

You will note that even those inflated numbers neither inflate nor appear to create any jobs in the great state of Kentucky.

So Ben Chandler needs our help. A phone call might work.

His DC Office: (202) 225-4706
His Lexington Office: (859) 219-1366

Give the dude a buzz, you don’t want him make another wacky vote do you?

His fear of farm dust was good enough to last a couple weeks, right?

You’re Welcome, America… love Kentucky

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December 9, 2011
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In our ongoing mission to prove that a nation of 300,000,000+ is actually controlled by a single state of 3,000,000 generally maligned and overlooked people, today offers something of a victory.

President Obama is trying to give working people a tax cut by way of the payroll tax extension. The Republican Party is fighting this, and leading their fight is the Congressional Delegation of the Great State of Kentucky!

First of all, we had Rand Paul opposing lower middle class taxes on the argument that they would drain funds from a federal government program he already wants to dismantle. This makes no sense. A) because it’s not true; B) because were it true, Rand Paul should be in favor of it.

Then, more seriously — because even his own party rarely takes Rand Paul seriously, it seems — you’ve got the latest Republican attempt to block a millionaire tax hike while simultaneously killing a middle class tax cut. This movement is led in the Senate by Mitch McConnell, our senior Senator and the minority leader and it is coupled with Ed Whitfield’s Keystone XL Pipeline project that does little for the state of Kentucky but much for big energy interests.

Whitfield, Kentucky’s 1st District Congressman, is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and through that position has been fighting for the Keystone XL Pipeline for months. The pipeline threatens great damage (here, here) to the heartland’s water system and offers questionable rewards outside some big profits for some well-off energy barons. The President recently delayed any decision on the pipeline until 2013. Last week, Whitfield in the House and McConnell in the Senate both introduced legislation seeking to force the President’s hand in a give-away to their energy overlords.

On Wednesday of this week, they came up with a better idea. The House payroll tax bill is now leaden with Ed’s XL Pipeline mandate in effort to either derail the tax cut for the middle class or force the pipeline on America.

House Republicans hope they’ve struck gold — black gold — by marrying the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline to the president’s payroll tax cut.

….“We’re going to push now. We think it’s important. The president’s being political and we need to create jobs,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who chairs an Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

Or as our orange neighbor across a decrepit bridge says:

The bill — called the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 —is nearly 370 pages, and includes peripheral issues such as restarting the stalled Keystone XL pipeline project, altering of environmental regulations and the selling of broadband spectrum.

“This package does not include everything Republicans would like, nor does it have all that Democrats have called for,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a Friday statement. “But it is a win for the American people and worthy of the president’s signature.”

A win for the American people would be lower taxes on the middle class, clean water and a reasonable tax on the super-wealthy. Boner is being disingenuous — really, this is a win-win for the GOP… either they raise taxes on the middle class while protecting the rich or they get a big win for big energy.

Or… they find a way to do it all. From the Washington Post:

House Republicans on Friday brought forward legislation that would extend the Social Security payroll tax cut through 2012 and trim extra benefits for the long-term unemployed.

The measure invites a year-end clash with President Barack Obama and Democrats by including language that would pave the way for construction of a controversial oil pipeline.

….The newer measure would be financed by cutting federal workforce salaries, requiring higher earning elderly people to pay more for Medicare and raising some federal fees. But it ignores the higher taxes on the rich that Democrats would use to cover the costs of their proposal.

Ed Whitfield — who was named one of the Top 15 Friends of Polluters in Congress — long ago made it clear where his true intentions are. While Mitch McConnell’s money-quote (“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”) has gotten a lot of play, Ed Whitfield’s similar moment of honesty has gone largely unnoticed:

“We want to keep passing things on the House side that would reverse things EPA is doing simply because we’d like to see those 22 Democratic senators up for re-election next year vote on some of this.”

So again we see that not only is the Republican Party not interested in getting America back to work, not only are they more interested in just making matters worse under the destructive but perhaps accurate belief that that’s the only way they can win an election, but also that it is Kentucky’s Republican delegation leading this ridiculous battle.

While we’re on the subject, it’s also worth pointing out the the GOP’s #1 Jobs Plan passed the House on Wednesday. That bill doesn’t do anything to create jobs but does seek to weaken government health and safety regulations. And that bill is the work of another Kentucky Congressman, Mr. Geofferson Davis.

Kentucky wins again! Suck it, America.

McConnell, Whitfield lead GOP fight for XL Pipeline

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December 6, 2011
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Earlier this month, the White House announced it would delay any decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would mine the tar sands of Canada and run through America’s heartland, passing over a major source of country’s water systems.

People who like to water plants and livestock with non-polluted water have objected to this plan and over the summer engaged in a series of headline-grabbing protests in Washington, putting an equal pressure on the President as was coming from the Koch Brother/far-Right forces aligned in support of the pipeline.

And while the pipeline doesn’t appear to come to Kentucky or create jobs here, Kentucky’s Congressional Delegation is still, strangely, going all in to fight for the big money interests. Weird, right?

Our good Senator Mitch McConnell:

Six senators including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have crafted a plan that requires a State Department permit for the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline within 60 days unless the president publicly determines that it is not in the national interest, according to a summary.

And the decent Congressman, Mr. Ed Whitfield:

A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives called Friday on the US administration to speed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Canadian tar sands to the United States.

….The House measure would call on US authorities to act within 30 days to issue a permit for the pipeline, after which the project would be considered approved by default.

Ed Whitfield, chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said at a hearing Friday the lawmakers were acting as “a direct response to the administration failure to issue a permit for the pipeline.”

“The president had a golden opportunity to take bold action and create jobs for America and he declined to do so,” Whitfield said.

 

Learn more about the Keystone XL Pipeline here.

 

 

What does Brett Guthrie have against the voters of Jessamine County?

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November 18, 2011
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Not everyone’s happy about the redistricting. Specifically Brett Guthrie is not happy about it.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, a Republican who represents the 2nd District, said he would fight any effort to move Owensboro out of his district, where it has traditionally been located.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving Daviess County and always look forward to my visits to the area,” Guthrie said in a statement. “I will use any influence I may have with my former colleagues in the General Assembly to maintain Daviess County in the 2nd District.”

Guthrie would lose Owensboro to Ed Whitfield and gain Jessamine County from Ben Chandler.

Chandler, of course, is sitting pretty under the plan and is almost certainly happier about it as his place gets bluer even if Ben’s mindset is, for the most part, Cardinal Red.

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