Push Me, Pull You

Push Me, Pull You 4I am often asked by friends and constituents how things are going in Washington. I have to say I am doing my best, but sometimes I get frustrated.

We know that there can be partisan gridlock that slows things down in Washington, but right now frustrating and nonsensical decisions are coming from the Biden Administration.

The way they decide policy reminds me of the Doctor Dolittle character, the Pushmi-Pullyu, an animal with two heads at opposite ends of its body.

Currently, the Administration is trying to push billions and billions of taxpayer money out the door to fund new-fangled energy technologies that are not fully developed, while at the same time closing a door on the natural gas industry that brings down costs for families and helps our national security interests.

Recently I chaired a hearing in the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in which I questioned a Senior Advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the agency’s new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The fund was authorized by the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which has $27 billion for Green New Deal projects. (A recent report in the Daily Caller even says they are going to deem the playground for the wealthy, Martha’s Vineyard, as “low income” to push EV charger subsidies.)

According to the law, the agency must award all the funds by September 30th. That is a staggering amount in the next eight months.

While I did not vote for the Inflation Reduction Act and don’t agree with many of the policies, the fund is set to hand out $27 billion in taxpayer funds in a short amount of time and we must ensure there are proper protocols put in place to limit waste, fraud, and abuse of this money.

During the hearing, I asked our witness about the specific audit and debarment measures the EPA will use to ensure compliance by grantees, but also sub-grantees.

I also asked him to ensure that both grantees and sub-grantees will be responsive to this Oversight Subcommittee.

I asked this because unfortunately the federal government has run into issues in the past when funding and overseeing new types of energy and environment projects. A prime example was when the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gave loans to Solyndra from 2009 to 2011. Abuse by DOE and their failure to properly administer the program cost the American taxpayers an additional $170 million.

And pulling in the other direction, Biden recently announced that he would be instituting a ban on permits for new projects that export U.S. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the U.S., including all of Europe.

Unfortunately, limiting LNG exports will not only have negative effects here at home, but also internationally.

Blocking new LNG projects will damage future natural gas infrastructure and kill thousands of good paying American jobs. Before Biden’s ban, a 2017 report by ICF International indicated that by 2040, the U.S. LNG industry was projected to support between 220,000 and 452,000 additional U.S. jobs. Additionally, the report projected the industry would add between $50 billion and $73 billion to the U.S. economy.

U.S. exports of LNG also help protect ours and other countries’ national security interests.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, U.S. companies increased their LNG exports so that European countries would not have to rely solely on Russia.

This was in an effort to not only restrict the revenue Russia would receive from their LNG exports, but also decrease the likelihood that Russia could destabilize the region should they want to retaliate against Europe for supporting Ukraine.

Recently, I met with a few members of Bulgaria’s Parliament who talked about Bulgaria switching from Russian to U.S. LNG and how they were glad to have U.S. energy sources to rely on.

So, on the one hand, the Administration is pushing billions of dollars to implement new and untested technology, and on the other hand they are pulling the benefits of technology that helps here and abroad.

Not only that, but the Administration has also now adopted this push/pull stance on foreign affairs. They have claimed to support Ukraine and previously advocated for exporting LNG in order to support Ukraine and the rest of Europe. Now they are stopping new permits, which will help Russia and hurt Ukraine.

How does any of this make sense?

It’s time for the Biden Administration to stop these senseless decisions that push in one direction and pull in the other.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at https://morgangriffith.house.gov/.

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