Rep. Price: ‘Piecemeal’ Progress Made in Energy Policy

U.S. Representative David Price of North Carolina’s District 4 stopped by WCHL this past Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including domestic energy policy.

One listener on Facebook wanted to know what could be done to get the nation and North Carolina on a safe, sustainable energy path that mitigates climate change.

Price answered that a comprehensive approach is needed. He reminded listeners that during the early days of President Obama’s first term, the Democrat-controlled House passed a cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse gases.

“That didn’t make it through the Senate,” said Price. “And then, of course, with the political change in 2010, we had divided government, with the Republicans pretty much saying they weren’t going to take any kind of comprehensive approach.”

He said that since then, the government has made “piecemeal” progress on energy issues.

“By piecemeal, I mean things like a research agenda for the smart grid; research agenda for more alternative fuels; more efficiency; just a whole, clean energy, energy efficiency research agenda,” said Price.

Price added that an array of tax incentives won broad congressional support to promote conservation practices and the use of renewables.

Rep. Price Laments ‘Rightward Turn’ in Congress, Lack of Cooperation

U.S. Representative David Price of North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District visited the WCHL studio recently to discuss several issues in the news, including partisan gridlock in Washington.

On that subject, Price said that the deterioration of bipartisan cooperation in congress since the mid-nineties became much worse after the 2010 midterms.

“What’s new since the 2010 elections is the rightward turn of the Republican Party, which adds an element,” said Price, “because this rightward turn involves a strong libertarian bent, and anti-government attitude that really makes [bipartisan] cooperation very, very difficult.”

Price also cited what he called “a visceral reaction to President Obama” from Republicans as a major factor in the never-ending congressional standoff.

He said he finds the current Congress even more contentious than it was around 1994, when he briefly lost his congressional seat to Republican Fred Heineman.

Back then, Price was a casualty of a Republican Revolution led by Newt Gingrich during President Clinton’s first term.

Price regained his seat in 1996. He sounds now like he looks back almost fondly to the era of House Speaker Gingrich.

“At the time, it seemed like it was pretty severe,” Price recalled. “But you know, in retrospect, Newt Gingrich could deliver his caucus. He could work with President Clinton to get an agreement on the big budget questions of the day, as well as lots of other things.”

Back then, he figures, it would have been easier to find bipartisan support for a highway bill, or even immigration reform.

When asked what legislators on both sides of the aisle can do to improve the seemingly hopeless situation, Price began his answer by pointing out that all is not lost at the moment. He cited some examples form the appropriations process.

“We’ve had one ourselves on the homeland security bill,” said Price. “we sometimes have these fire-breathing immigration amendments that blow it all apart, but we often work together to cooperatively do a homeland security bill.”

Price added that a bill he introduced to open the books on college athletics is haping up as a bipartisan effort.

He added that individual Democratic congress members should always ask themselves if they are part of the solution, or part of the problem while negotiating with Republicans in committees.

Muted Joy

We’ve had a fairly chilly and frequently gray holiday season here in Chapelboro.  It seems fitting, not only to the calendar, but to the events that marked the end of 2012.  From the destruction of Hurricane Sandy to the devastation in Newtown, CT, the end of this past year seemed blighted. 

As I write this, the chilly gray weather continues, but I expected the psychic gray to lift and not just because the calendar turned a page.  I couldn’t believe men and women paid to represent this country would dare be irresponsible enough to let the year turn without protecting our fragile economy.  I was sure I’d awake to not only a new year but to a new deal (if not a New Deal) that would, in varying degrees, ask the wealthiest to pay more, lower the deficit and create a framework to cross the idealogical divide in our nation.  

And so I did.  But now that wee-hours agreement struck in the U.S. Senate is under threat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  This makes me feel gray but see red.  How dare they be paid by us and show fealty to an ideology only and not to the citizenry? Do they care more about the ideology than the nation’s credit rating?  Do they care more about the ideology than the economy’s need for solid footing?  Apparently they do.  Are they not required to pledge an oath to their country?  Their WHOLE country? 

These ideologues give up any claim to ever being called statesmen (or women) from the second they scuttle this deal.  Their legacy will be as obstructionists.  

I write this in anger, as you may have gathered.  And cooler heads may prevail in Washington and I will be eternally grateful to have been wrong (yes, it’s true).  But why is compromise now considered unacceptable by some?  And why did it take so long when everyone knew this deadline was looming?  


For every day there is no deal, do the lawmakers not get paid?  Not receive their stellar benefits package?  Is there any way to make sure the infractions of the 112th Congress aren’t repeated?  Oh, yeah, we do get to throw them out.  

Our towns are replete with both the highly educated and the super smart (and some outstanding folks who are both!).  Could I impose on a historian with a calm temperament to either comment below or post separately about how and when or if this country’s elected leaders will stop acting like schoolchildren protecting their own questionably-built forts.  Or, send me serene thoughts of sunny days ahead to