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Let’s be Blunt a monthly column by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt

Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 8:25 am

More American energy means more American jobs. But apparently, that isn’t a lesson President Obama or Senate Democrats have learned yet.

In a recent floor debate surrounding the Democrat budget, I was glad to help Democrats and Republicans pass an amendment introduced by my colleague Senator Hoeven to move forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline. This project would create 20,000 American jobs, generate $20.9 billion in new private sector spending, reinforce our nation’s energy security, and benefit 1,400 American job creators – all without costing taxpayers a dime.

I also introduced an amendment to protect Americans from skyrocketing energy prices and significant job losses by providing a point of order against a carbon tax or a fee on carbon emissions. Families and job creators in Missouri and nationwide rely on affordable, abundant energy sources, and a carbon tax would burden every American with higher energy costs for just about everything they do or buy. My amendment to stop a carbon tax was supported by a bipartisan majority of the Senate.

Unfortunately, a potential carbon tax would especially hurt for the poorest families who simply cannot afford to pay more to fill up their gas tanks and heat their homes. According to the 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, nearly 40 million of American households earning less than $30,000 per year spend almost 20 percent or more of their income on energy.

These costs increases specifically hurt states like Missouri that are heavily reliant on coal for affordable power. In fact, a study conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) found that states like Missouri would see their utility bills increase by 19 percent in 2013. And at a time when we’re trying to jump start U.S. manufacturing, this study found that in energy-intensive sectors, manufacturing output could drop by as much as 15 percent. In non-energy-intensive sectors, we could see a drop in output by as much as 7.7 percent.

At a time when we’re looking to stimulate economic growth, we need an all-of-the-above energy policy to lessen our dependence on foreign energy and create more private sector jobs. I hope President Obama will move forward with common-sense projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline and reject onerous regulations and energy taxes that will stifle private sector job creation.

More American energy equals more American jobs. It may be the most easily defended formula in economic history.