Friday, July 3, 2009


By Senator Bill Stouffer

If you feel you are in the dark on what may be happening in Washington, D.C. these days, you are not alone. In fact, we may all be in the dark if a measure recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law.

Cap and Trade, also known as the “Cap and Tax” or “Carbon Tax” bill, recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 219 supporting the measure and 212 voting against it.

Of Missouri’s delegation, only four congressmen voted for the bill: Reps. Carnahan, Clay, Cleaver, and Skelton. All were pushed by Speaker Pelosi to support the idea.

With the amount of folks discussing this measure at little league fields, coffee shops and online, I wanted to take a moment to discuss how this might affect us back home.

The intent of this legislation is to reduce the carbon footprint of the United States. It establishes a bureaucracy to oversee the purchase, sale, or trade of permits for energy use. While I believe caring for creation is something we have a moral obligation to do, I do not feel this is an effective way to meet this goal. I do not think we can afford the price tag, either.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Cap and Trade will actually destroy 2.5 million jobs, raise electric rates by 90 percent, raise gasoline prices by 74 percent and raise natural gas prices by 55 percent, after inflation.

If a manufacturer, grocery store, or any other employer had to pay an additional 90 percent increase in electric rates — as well as higher costs throughout their budget including all goods, services, and transportation — they may be forced to cut jobs or move them overseas. Every product we buy will cost more.

Energy costs have increased and become much more volatile in the last decade. Imagine an automatic increase of 90 percent for electricity. Municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, and every family and business would be affected. Even nonprofits would suffer. I recently spoke to a man who attends a small church in Rural Missouri. If cap and trade passes, this church that averages around 30 congregants each Sunday could pay around a $1,000 per winter month to keep the doors open. Everyone will be affected.

What’s even more frustrating is that Speaker Pelosi and others pushed the bill through the legislature with little review. In fact, before its final passage, a 300 page amendment was added to the bill that no legislator would have been able to read before a final vote.

The complexities of the 1,200 page bill even included real estate transactions. Every home sale will now have to include an energy audit, similar to a general home inspection. If the home does not meet standards included in the bill, appropriate repairs or updates would have to be performed to bring your home up to standards.

If you are having a hard time selling your home now, the government wants to have a part of that process too. From autos to banking to home sales, it seems government is becoming a bigger part of our lives.

The bill now goes to the United States Senate. Regardless of how you feel on the issue, I would suggest you contact Sen. Kit Bond at (202) 224-5721 and Sen. Claire McCaskill at (202) 224-6154.

Senator Stouffer serves the counties of Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Lafayette, Macon, Ray, Saline, and a part of Clay. He is Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee; vice chair of Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural Resources; chair of Transportation Oversight; chair of Senate Interim Committee on Certificate of Need; and sits on numerous other Senate Committees. Additionally, Senator Stouffer serves as vice chair of Missouri Senior RX Commission and serves on the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enforcement Commission, the Health Care Stabilization Fund Feasibility Board, and the Missouri Advisory Council for Pain and Symptom Management,

If you have questions or comments about this or any other issue, please call toll free (866) 768-3987 or by e-mail at