'Supercommittee' member Upton wants more energy production to cut deficit
Washington (Platts)--8Sep2011/1254 pm EDT/1654 GMT
The US should open new areas to oil and natural gas exploration to
increase federal revenues, a Republican member of the congressional debt
reduction "supercommittee" said Thursday morning.
After the first meeting of the panel, Representative Fred Upton of
Michigan, also the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,
called for more energy production as a way to add to federal coffers.
Upton originally planned to make the request as part of his opening
statement to the committee, but cut the section due to lack of time, he said
in a brief interview.
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"We can grow by expanding energy production, which will create
significant new jobs while bringing in federal bonus bids and royalties not
to mention significant tax receipts from increased economic activity,"
according to remarks Upton prepared for his opening statement but did not
Upton said he has not discussed that proposal with other committee
members, or prepared a more detailed proposal for that or other energy issues
that could come up at the committee.
No other members seconded Upton's lead on energy exploration. On
Wednesday, four committee members said in interviews that it was too soon to
discuss detailed energy proposals.
Several committee members called for reforming the US tax code,
including Senator Pat Toomey, Republican-Pennsylvania, who cited the
expiring ethanol blending tax credit as unnecessary and wasteful tax
"We have ethanol tax credits that are bad economics, bad tax code,"
Senator Jon Kyl, Republican-Arizona, urged members to avoid
controversial issues that would stall the committee's work or expand its
"We're only going to succeed if we can avoid partisanship," Kyl said.
The supercommittee is comprised of six Republicans and six Democrats,
equally from the House and the Senate. None of the Democratic members spoke
about energy Thursday.
The committee is scheduled to meet next on September 13, to hear
testimony on the causes of the current federal deficit. The committee is
charged with drafting a bill that would cut about $1.5 trillion in federal
deficit, with a committee vote on the bill due by November 23.
--Keith Chu, email@example.com