Obama tells Energy it’s time to get ‘serious’
In a wide-ranging address to Energy Department employees in Washington on Thursday, President Barack Obama defended the economic stimulus plan under consideration in Congress saying that, among other things, "the plan will begin to end the tyranny of oil in our time."
It's not clear if Obama was referring to the bill passed last week by House Democrats or the bill now under consideration in the Senate. No Republicans voted for the House bill.
In addition to reiterating his commitment to double the nation's capacity to generate renewable energy and to modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings, he also vigorously defended plans to use stimulus funds to upgrade government fleets with more-efficient vehicles.
"Now, I read the other day that critics of this plan ridiculed our notion that we should use part of the money to modernize the entire fleet of federal vehicles to take advantage of state-of-the-art fuel efficiency. This is what they call pork," Obama said.
"You know the truth. It will not only save the government significant money over time, it will not only create manufacturing jobs for folks who are making these cars, it will set a standard for private industry to match," he said.
"And so when you hear these attacks deriding something of such obvious importance as this, you have to ask yourself, are these folks serious? Is it any wonder that we haven't had a real energy policy in this country?"
On Wednesday, House Republicans released a list of some items they object to in the House bill on the grounds that those provisions will not spur immediate job creation. Items on the list included $400 million for state and local governments to acquire new vehicles and $600 million to replace a portion of the federal vehicle fleet.
"Some or all of this spending may be worthy of debate on Capitol Hill, but to say that it will lead to immediate job creation -- the goal of the legislation, after all -- is a stretch, to say the least," said the statement from House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.