Would any Republican or Democrat disagree with this statement :
“Minerals are the building blocks of our economy — critical to our prosperity, our standard of living, and our competitiveness. We need a steady, affordable, and domestic supply of them — mined here, refined here, processed here, and made into products here.”
This week, the House had a chance to do something about that … with the simple advice as expressed by one Member :
So, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
If you want to go home and tell your constituents that you were part of a bipartisan bill that protects American innovation, manufacturing, energy security, and national security, vote for this bill.
If you want to go home and tell your constituents that you are a part of seeing jobs go over to China and ceding leadership in energy, critical elements, then you should vote against this bill.
OK … let’s provide a little background.
The bill in question is H.R. 1022, the Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act.
H.R. 1022 would place an emphasis within the Department of Energy on ensuring a long-term, secure and sustainable American supply of “energy critical elements” in order to satisfy the national security and economic well-being of the United States. Energy critical elements are those elements that are important to production of technologies such as next-generation batteries and fuel cells, computers, cellphones, and military applications like jet engines and weapons systems.
These critical metals and elements are relatively scarce and are threatened by serious shortages. Troublingly, China currently produces 97 percent of the global supply of rare earths and our nation currently relies on foreign imports for most of the minerals we use. However, the United States is estimated to have reserves of highly strategic minerals.
In short, H.R. 1022 allows America to more robustly develop our own strategic and critical mineral resources, reduce our dependency on imports and boost our national and economic security.
According to the bill’s author, there are no new programs, no loan guarantees, and not a new dollar spent.
Doesn’t this sound like the type of bill that should get broad support ?
Of course, the first step is getting the House Republican leadership to allow a vote … and Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, was granted time to present the bill to the full House.
Chairman Smith spoke in support of the bill … the minority was represented by Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who serves at the Ranking Member on the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy, also spoke in support of the bill.
In fact, no one spoke against the bill.
The bill was approved on a voice vote … but then a Member asked for a Roll Call and H.R. 1022 was rejected.
The roll call had 78 Republicans saying YES to American Jobs and 143 Republicans saying YES to China.
Despite the fact that there was support from 260 Members, because of House Rules, the 143 Republicans prevailed … and America’s workers and security lost.
Why would John Kline vote against it ?
Since he does not issue press releases, unless it is to further The Selling of Chairman John Kline, the reason may be found in terbium.
Terbium, Number 65 on the periodic table, is a metal that most people probably have never heard of it. It is used in high-efficiency lighting and in wind turbines, among many other energy uses.
John “Coal Man” Kline is not a fan of wind energy and has encouraged the ending of the Production Tax Credit impacting thousands of Minnesota jobs.
Terbium is just one in the category of REE (Rare Earth Elements). Despite their name, rare earth elements are relatively plentiful in the Earth’s crust.
Neodymium is a key part of magnets used in hyper-efficient motors and generators. Lanthanum is a major ingredient for hybrid car batteries while and cerium is used in catalytic converters. Lithium is used in cell phones, laptops, and other mobile devices. Rhenium is used to make parts for jet engines, including the jets that provide America’s air superiority for our Air Force and Navy.
China has only 48.3 percent of the world’s rare earth reserves, yet accounts for the mining and distribution of 97 percent of rare earth elements. Predictably, China has not been shy about using this monopoly as leverage against its international competitors.
As Tim Folger wrote in National Geographic, China “rattled global markets in the fall of 2010 when it cut off shipments to Japan for a month during a diplomatic dispute. Over the next decade China is expected to steadily reduce rare earth exports in order to protect the supplies of its own rapidly growing industries, which already consume about 60 percent of the rare earths produced in the country.”
China benefits by cutting REE exports resulting in domestic Chinese companies have been able to procure rare earths at relatively low prices while driving up component costs for American manufacturers. China restrictions on rare earth exports has caused many companies to move their factories to China from the United States and Europe so that they could secure a reliable and inexpensive source of raw materials.
Voters now know John Kline stance on H.R. 1022 and renewable energy … but they need to get to know Mike Obermueller … from his issues page :
We need a comprehensive energy plan which works towards energy independence and sustainability. Investing in the production of clean and renewable energy is not only a step toward sustainability but will be a boost to the economy, particularly in rural communities. Working towards this goal takes political will and working across the aisle to beat the special interests. In addition, we need to increase domestic production and sell American oil here in America. We also need to tap into new energy resources such as natural gas. Mike will work for responsible energy policies that drive us toward energy independence.
John Kline would rather obstruct … while Mike Obermueller promotes progress (and JOBS).