WASHINGTON — House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) opened today’s hearing on the Democrats’ radical climate agenda by slamming Democrats for funneling Committee resources into a sham, politically motivated investigation of America’s leading oil and gas producers. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Comer emphasized that Democrats have abandoned the Committee’s mission of rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government and have resumed their unnecessary war against the oil and gas industry. He highlighted how the Democrats’ partisan investigation and Green New Deal agenda will only further erode the country’s energy independence, jeopardize good-paying jobs, and raise energy costs for all Americans. Ranking Member Comer also noted the importance of hearing from Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on plans to address rising energy costs and encouraged Democrats to conduct meaningful oversight. Instead of President Biden continuing to fist-bump foreign dictators for oil, Ranking Member Comer concluded by stressing the importance of unleashing energy production in the United States.
Below are his remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney. I also thank the witnesses for their willingness to testify before the Committee today.
Repeatedly this Congress, Republicans on this Committee have been forced to question the motivation and legitimacy of the Democrats’ investigation of oil and gas companies.
This investigation is part of the Democrats’ war on America’s energy producers—an industry that creates good paying jobs and provides access to reliable, affordable energy for Americans.
Instead of conducting oversight of government waste, fraud, and abuse, Democrats continue to encourage and enable the Biden Administration’s radical climate policies that have led to our nation’s energy crisis.
This hearing is apparently the grand finale after issuing unnecessary subpoenas, demanding information protected by the First Amendment, requesting that board members’ spouses phone numbers and names be unredacted in document productions, and continuing to claim companies are not cooperating despite providing over a million pages of documents.
After issuing a press release on February 3 “demanding” board members appear at a hearing on March 8, Democrats decided to cancel the hearing.
According to media reports, a Committee staffer said the hearing was postponed to focus on oversight of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that it would be rescheduled “as soon as possible.”
But it has been five months and we are still waiting for a full committee hearing on Russia invading Ukraine.
Instead, we’ve had a full committee hearing on the work environment at the Washington Commanders and Democrats also found time to release a staff report after conducting a hard-hitting investigation into pet flea and tick collars.
And we still haven’t heard from a Biden Administration cabinet official.
It’s clear that Democrats paused this partisan show hearing for five months because publicly attacking America’s energy producers would have been embarrassing when the Biden Administration’s war on domestic energy production resulted in record high gas prices for Americans.
During a hearing with oil and gas executives in October, Democrats on this Committee advocated for the companies to DECREASE production. It’s a good thing they didn’t listen.
The world is on notice of the importance of domestic energy production.
Russia’s leverage over Europe’s energy supply makes the point yet again that energy security is critical to national security.
Despite global upheaval, record high gas prices, and skyrocketing inflation, Democrats continue pushing Green New Deal initiatives that make Americans dependent on hostile nations for oil.
President Biden even went around the world begging and fist-bumping dictators for oil instead of unleashing energy production at home.
Meanwhile, Democrats refuse to hold a hearing about energy policy with any Biden Administration officials.
Why haven’t we had a hearing on gas going over $5 per gallon in every state for the first time in American history?
Why haven’t we had a hearing on depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
Why haven’t we had a hearing on inflation that’s at a 40 year high?
During the past 12 months alone, the price of gas is up over 25%, the cost of natural gas is up 33%, and the cost of electricity is up over 15%.
Yet we are here again to talk about climate pledges made by private companies and profits made by private companies.
Congress must instead conduct oversight of President Biden’s disastrous policies that are causing Americans’ energy and grocery bills to skyrocket and jeopardize our national security.
In March, President Biden made the decision to release one million barrels of oil per day over six months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a decision Republicans quickly pointed out as natural security concern. SPR inventories have recently sat at their lowest levels since 1984, and the United States domestic energy production is threatened.
President Biden singlehandedly shutdown the critically important Keystone XL pipeline, placed a moratorium on oil and gas production on federal lands, and caused gas prices to reach historic highs.
Under the Biden Administration, the household price of electricity is increasing and is expected to increase again next year.
So many households will struggle under these high energy prices particularly this winter. In another example of failing Biden Administration policy, U.S. households could see a 30% to 40% hike in monthly energy bills this year if gas prices remain high.
On multiple occasions, we have written Chairwoman Maloney to request a hearing with Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to discuss these issues, but these requests have been ignored.
As I have stated in the past, no matter what these companies do, it will never be enough to please the Democrats. The sole focus of this investigation is to put these companies out of business.
That would be disastrous for the American people. Just look at California.
I look forward to speaking with the Minority witness, Michael Shellenberger about the consequences of the Biden Administration’s failed energy policies, and I look forward to setting the table for real oversight of our government.
Thank you again to the witnesses, and I yield back.