Editor’s note: The following talk by Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) was delivered at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2012 West Coast Retreat, held March 30th-April 1st at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California. Video of congressman’s speech can also be seen below.
Congressman Ed Royce: Thank you very much. Michael and I were just talking about the fact that yes, yes we did run Barney Frank out. That is true. But he said, “Well, who’s in line to be chairman if the Democrats take the House in Financial Services?” Well, Maxine Waters has been given the nod. So, you know, one step forward, two back.
I did want to share with you a few thoughts this morning, just about some of the ways in which the President has been working to fundamentally transform America with respect to his policies on debt, with respect to the policies as it relates to energy, as it relates to foreign policy. And I think I’ll just start with the healthcare bill because a few of you noticed the estimate that just came out of the Congressional Budget Office that the President’s original estimates of $900 billion cost over the next 10 years was a little shy. It’s actually going to be double that. Now, that’s the bad news for President Obama. The good news, I guess, is that we’re now 30th in math, so nobody will notice the fact that we now have doubled the cost of a new entitlement, a new entitlement.
And this is what I think is most stunning to me, because as one of the deficit hawks who used to go to the floor and press the President and, yes, Karl Rove, on the $161 billion deficit that we had reached, wow, those were the good old days. Because within one year, one year later with all the stimulus spending, President Obama had that at tenfold, the worst deficit that we had seen. We were at $161 billion; all of a sudden we go to $1.6 trillion.
And guess what? The President has no plan to ratchet this back down. Every year we’re at $1.5 trillion in new deficit spending under this president for as far as the eye can see. And the consequences of this is the $5 trillion addition to the debt under this administration. And not one — when you look at it, I mean, we’ve gone through four St. Patrick’s Days now and we haven’t had one green job, one net green job created here. The unemployment rate is the same as it was four years ago, but the number of people out of work, the number of people in the workforce is dramatically higher.
And the other concept here is the fact that as you’ve got young people graduating from high school or college into the workforce, you’ve got to grow that economy at 2%. So if you have more people out of work that have left the labor force than four years ago, where are you going with this economic plan?
And what is this plan? With respect to energy, what is the vision here? And I want to just speak to an issue that I’ve held a number of hearings on and that is our energy policy, which seems to be to drive up the price of gas. I think it was $1.83 a gallon when the President came into office and now it’s $4 a gallon. Drive up the price by driving down the amount that can be produced on public lands. Occasionally you’ll hear, well, there’s some more gas production that’s going on on private lands. Yes, that’s the production they haven’t figured out a way to stop yet.
And still the number of permits that are actually given out are a fraction of what they were historically. And at the same time you have on these major projects — and let’s just look at one of them, the attempt by Canada to create a market for its reserves out of Alberta, which are the third largest in the world. And so you have a situation with the Keystone Pipeline where there was an attempt to use gravity and connect that pipeline up with our refineries here in the United States.
Now, as you know, the Canadian Prime Minister, Harper, after the President turned down this proposal, has met with Hu Jintao, the head of state for China, and they have now discussed China, which already has vast energy holdings, by the way, in British Columbia. China has been preparing for this day. And just as across Africa and across Latin America they have been able to make these major investments, now they’re in British Columbia. And the requirement that the Canadians have in order to find a source for their oil now that it has been blocked will produce a pipeline, but it will go west instead of south.
We had an opportunity to be less reliant on Middle Eastern oil. We had an opportunity to buy our oil from our ally instead of our adversaries and to send those dollars north to an ally in which 85% of the money, according to economists, would be regenerated back into our economy. But we decided rather than to do that, we would take an alternative option, foreclose that pipeline, and create a circumstance where, instead of today where oil prices, energy prices are 20% higher in Asia than in the United States — our economic competitors pay 20% higher for their energy costs with respect to their manufacturing than we do. And we are now going to inverse that relationship. We are going to do what we can do to make certain that China has possession for the next 30 years of what comes out of Alberta and so that its energy costs for production and its competition against the United States can now be lower than ours.
This is really astounding, that the President in the face of opposition from labor, in the face of opposition from the Chamber, who estimates that it’s a quarter million jobs — the President will te- — well, it’s only 20,000 direct jobs in terms of the pipe manufacture. Right, but what about the Caterpillar tractors and all the rest of it? What about the indirect impact of this kind of activity? And what about what it would mean in terms of generating or rebooting the economy if you were to further bring down the cost of energy long term in the United States?
Well, you’ve got to hand it to this administration. I mean, they are committed to fundamentally transforming this economy and they have their vision in terms of what they’re going to do in terms of higher energy prices. They’ve said they want to double it. They have indicated they want to go the route that Europe is on in this. But, you know, our labor costs are higher here. The way we always competed economically was that our energy costs were lower. And we are now giving that up.
And I also had some observations just in terms of the Administration’s policies with respect to foreign policy. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and a great author, by the way, was in my office a few weeks ago. And we reviewed the map surrounding Israel.
And of course on one border you’ve got an imploding Syria. On another border you have Lebanon rearming, rearming with Hezbollah basically now getting an inventory of longer-range missiles than the ones that I saw in 2006. I went there during the Hezbollah war. And at that time I watched that port in Haifa that was closed for almost 30 days. Now, that’s the artery in which, you know, Israel’s survival is dependent upon that. I watched that come in under attack every day, every day, from those missiles. This is the kind of environment that we see there.
We see Fatah and Hamas come up with this unity pact. Now I remember when we pressed the Administration on this what was — about making the statements that would make it clear that we would not countenance such an arrangement. But instead of bold statements, instead of the statement that the United States would not support a terrorist government, we just heard talk out of the Administration. And finally, when it’s done, when it’s a done deal, the spokesman from the State Department says it’s an internal matter for the Palestinians.
Egypt used to be Israel’s stable neighbor and now the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are the dominant parties. The cops are fleeing. We didn’t use the influence that we had between our Pentagon and the military in Egypt to force the kind of constitution and changes that moderate forces were demanding. And so now they’re not in a position to influence the outcomes.
And the Sinai’s the Wild West. And Israel is, understandably, rushing to build a fence there now.
And these are just the threats on Israel’s immediate borders. These are just — this is just small potatoes compared to the big threat. Because you and I know, I mean, Iran might be struggling under sanctions, but the Iranian enrichment continues day after day. And the IAEA now gives us the results every month in terms of the ability to build and deliver a nuclear weapon. So this is the time more than ever when Israel needs friends.
And so I thought I would just look at some of the statements coming out of the Administration in terms of this fundamental transformation of our foreign policy. You’ve got the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, saying, asking this question to reporters — “Is it enough to maintain a military edge?” He’s speaking of Israel. “Is it enough if you’re isolating yourself in a diplomatic arena?”
Then we’ve got the President’s stern lecture to Israeli leaders in front of the United Nations, and in Egypt, and in Turkey.
And then, speaking again of Mr. Panetta’s remarks, well, he’s got backup for those remarks. President Erdogan of Turkey said, “Oh,” he said, “Mr. Panetta’s correct in his assumptions.”
Mr. Obama had that meeting with the President of France, with Nicholas Sarkozy. And we heard about the exchange. The President of France says, “I can’t stand Netanyahu.” Now, this is an opportunity — well, you could respond if you’re the President of the United States, “We’ve got to understand all of the pressure that he’s un-…” I mean, there are ways to diplomatically respond to a comment like that, other than this quote from the President, where rather than defend Israel’s back, rather than counter, he says, “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.” Those are the words of the President when he didn’t know the microphone was on. That’s not the first time, by the way.
So they asked the President of the United States and he says, “Oh, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey is one of the five world leaders with whom I’ve developed a bond of trust.” This is not said before, it is said after that flotilla is sent with six ships from Turkey in order to try to bust the arms embargo off the coast of Gaza. All right?
And then last month you had the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, she was asked about Mr. Obama pandering to Zionist lobbies, was the question. And she acknowledges that that’s a fair question, “a fair question,” in her words. And then says that during an election season, again in her words, “There are comments made that certainly don’t reflect our foreign policy.”
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