WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday in support of the Senate GOP budget resolution pending before the Senate this week. Video of the speech and the full remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
Watch Senator Capito’s budget speech here.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mister President, before turning to the budget resolution pending before the Senate this week, I would like to first discuss the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general.
“Last week I met with Loretta Lynch to discuss the legality of President Obama's executive actions, and her views concerned me.
“President Obama and his administration have a record of overstepping legal authority on immigration, implementation of the Affordable Care Act and imposing anti-energy regulations.
“Despite her qualifications, I am just not confident that Loretta Lynch will exercise the independence needed to stand up for the proper separation of powers, and I will not support her nomination.
“Turning to the budget, I rise today in strong support of this resolution that delivers on the promise to balance our budget without increasing taxes.
“West Virginia families and families across our country understand they cannot continually spend more money than they take in.
“Each month, families have to balance their budgets and decide how to spend their limited resources, make tough choices, set priorities and account for unexpected expenses.
“Unfortunately, annual deficits are routine for the federal government, but we recently endured four straight years with an annual deficit of at least $1 trillion.
“Despite recent drops, our national debt now stands at $18 trillion.
“That totals more than $56,000 for every American.
“American families cannot withstand spending more than they earn from month to month, and neither should the federal government.
“The debate on this budget resolution brings the Senate to an important cross roads.
“We can choose the president’s path which increases taxes and adds another $6 trillion to our national debt.
“Or we can choose to support the responsible budget on the Senate floor this week.
“If we fail to make the tough decisions to reduce our federal spending, we will leave mountains of debt for our children and grandchildren.
“Our first responsibility as leaders should be to leave our country better and stronger for the next generation of Americans.
“That starts by taking steps to balance our budget. And this budget balances in 10 years.
“This budget provides us with the flexibility to address many of the important issues confronting our nation, including evolving threats from terrorists.
“When West Virginians hear about ISIS, instability in Yemen, the failing state of Iraq, the first thing we think about is the safety and security of our own families.
“Terrorism hits close to home, and we must ensure we have the flexibility to fund a strong national defense.
“Like American families, we must have flexibility to account for unexpected expenses – and unexpected threats as they arise.
“This budget resolution gives us the ability to pass a long term highway bill that is paid for.
“We must invest in our nation’s roads and bridges and do so in a fiscally responsible way.
“This budget resolution paves the way for an extension of the State Children’s Health Insurance program, a bipartisan initiative which will hopefully be considered by the Senate in short order.
“And this budget facilitates changes that help our rural hospitals continue to provide critical medical services to our communities.
Our nation’s priorities are reflected in this nation’s budget.
“I want to draw special attention to the energy provisions in this budget.
“As I’ve said many times, an energy economy is a jobs economy.
“Energy is at the forefront of many West Virginians’ minds – whether we are paying for our monthly energy bill or checking gas prices.
“The production of coal and natural gas also accounts for tens of thousands of jobs in West Virginia.
“In recent years we have seen what advances in energy technology can do to broaden energy production and benefit the broader economy. The shale boom has made the United States a leading producer of both oil and natural gas.
“The benefits are felt by Americans every time they fill up their tank – and balance their budgets at the end of the month.
“In my state of West Virginia, Marcellus Shale natural gas production is creating jobs and providing the opportunity to expand downstream manufacturing.
“But federal government policies can hamstring our energy economy by slowing the production and the use of our resources.
“West Virginia unfortunately has seen that in our state’s coal mining industry, where thousands of jobs have been lost.
“Just last week, AEP issued layoff notices to employees at three West Virginia power plants.
“These closures are years ahead of schedule and the early closures are solely because of the impact of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxins or MATS rule.
“And, yesterday, Patriot Coal announced that it was temporarily idling the Paint Creek Complex, which employs about 400 workers in West Virginia. Coal-fired plant closures driven by EPA emission regulations were cited as part of the problem.
“The upcoming EPA regulations for carbon emissions from power plants will have an even more devastating effect
“Findings from reports by well-respected economic analysis firms show costs could get up to $479 billion over a 15-year period while causing double digit electricity price increases in 43 states.
“Over half of our country’s power comes from coal; yet, EPA is ‘predicting’ that by effectively eliminating one-half of our energy generation, we will reduce average electricity prices by 8 percent.
“Somehow that just doesn’t add up.
“How does this impact our federal budget?
“An energy economy that works will provide the low cost, reliable electricity to power our broader economy.
“By contrast, excessive regulation not only means fewer people working in my state’s energy sector.
“Higher cost, less reliable energy is a tax against manufacturing and job growth across the country.
“That means fewer individuals working, fewer businesses providing jobs and ultimately fewer government revenues.
“The budget resolution before us this week recognizes the importance of American energy production.
“The reserve funds in this budget will improve our energy infrastructure, reform environmental regulations and promote job growth.
“To supplement the strong energy provisions already in this budget, I have filed several amendments to strengthen our energy security.
“Last year, the administration reached a climate agreement with China. That agreement requires short term carbon emission reductions here in the United States. But China is allowed to continue increasing its carbon emissions until 2030. That disparity could place the United States at a significant economic disadvantage.
“My amendment would block any international environmental agreement that would result in serious harm to the United States economy.
“I have also filed an amendment that will block EPA from finalizing, proposing or issuing any regulation that would reduce the reliability of the electricity grid.
“Our economy relies on electricity being available. Families expect that the lights will come on when they flip the switch. They expect to have heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.
“This simple amendment says that no regulation from EPA can imperil access to reliable electricity. Makes sense to me.
“I urge my colleagues to support the balanced budget that is before the Senate this week, including these amendments, and to support policies that will allow our economy to benefit from America’s vast energy resources.
“The jobs and the revenues that come from energy production can play a significant role in a responsible federal budget.
“The American people elected us to make government more efficient, effective and accountable
“American families must live within a budget, states must adhere to a budget, and it is time for the federal government to do the same.”