GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio unveiled his energy policy in Salem, Ohio, on Friday. Speaking to an overflow crowd at BOC Water Hydraulics just outside Youngstown, Rubio was introduced by popular Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who extolled his virtues as a father and family man before saying he thinks Rubio is highly qualified to be our next president.
Rubio began by saying that the outdated political establishment in Washington is holding our economy back. He prefaced his policy proposals by saying that “21st century America has the greatest energy potential of any nation in human history.” Rubio said, “Not only do we have an abundance of oil and coal and natural gas, but we also have an unparalleled capability to leverage these into prosperity through the miracle of American free enterprise.”
Rubio said that “for Washington, squandering America’s energy potential is another day at the office. But for families all across this country, it’s deeply personal. Because energy is not just an industry; energy is every industry – energy touches every business, every worker, and every household in America.” He predicted that if Hillary Clinton is elected president we will miss out on one of the greatest economic opportunities of the century because she believes President Obama’s regulations have not gone far enough.
In contrast, he said that under the policies he is proposing, the cost of living will decrease, American manufacturing will soar, and our strength around the globe will return.
“The policies I’ll offer today are only a few of my ideas to help our people access that future,” he said. “My energy plan is based on three priorities: minimizing government bureaucracy, maximizing private innovation, and optimizing America’s resources.”
Rubio’s first priority would be to rein in the regulatory power of the federal government. He plans to do that by instituting a national regulatory budget, which will put a cap on the cost of new rules for the private sector. He’ll put an end to the Clean Power Plan and end “sue-to-settle” practices that Rubio says allow private environmental groups to “force regulations on the economy.” He would also simplify the permitting process for gas and oil pipelines.
The second prong of his energy plan is maximizing the potential of the private sector. “As president, I will support hydraulic fracturing and the many blue-collar jobs it supports,” he said. “The innovators and workers who are integrating this technology into our economy have helped drop consumer gas bills by around $13 billion a year. Name me a government regulation that can claim that.”
Rubio said he will also support energy innovators by making America the most business-friendly economy in the world. “This will be done through reforms to our tax code that lower rates and allow for 100% expensing of every dollar a company invests in growth or innovation.”
He also wants to overhaul our nation’s higher education system to give Americans the skills they need to develop our energy future and access the prosperity it will create. “We need an education system that graduates fewer Greek philosophy majors and more engineers, scientists, welders, and electrical specialists.” The audience chuckled as he quipped, “The market for Greek philosophers has tightened in the last 2,000 years.” He said he will expand career and vocational training, which will allow more Americans to get specialized training without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a 4-year college education.
The third prong of Rubio’s energy policy is optimizing America’s resources. He said we need to allow Americans to convert our God-given natural resources into financial stability.
“The $100 billion of natural gas and $550 billion of oil beneath our feet are doing the people of Ohio no good pent up in shale rock,” he said. “Yet Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to argue it’s more important for us to subsidize wind turbines and solar panels than to expand access to our extraordinary reserves.”
He said that the market, not Washington bureaucrats, should pick winners and losers and vowed to let the states and the people make those decisions if he is elected president. “I will work with Congress to ensure states have their own authority to oversee energy production within their borders.” He vowed to open up critical natural resources that have been blocked by the Obama administration, including recoverable oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf and the Keystone XL pipeline. He plans to lift the ban on exports of American crude oil and expedite exports of natural gas to our allies, which he said would give America an enormous tool of soft power in addition to billions in economic growth.
“Vladimir Putin uses energy to exert pressure and blackmail nations throughout Europe,” Rubio said. “With their reliance on Russia for their energy needs, even some of our partners have been hesitant to cross Putin – or in the case of Ukraine, unable to protect their sovereignty. American exports would strengthen our hand by reinforcing alliances and weakening Russia’s grip on its neighbors.”
According to Rubio, America’s most abundant energy source is not found in the ground. Instead, he said it is found in the American Dream.
“But while this drive to achieve, to prosper, and to leave our children better off than ourselves is in all of us, it must be converted from potential into reality. Washington cannot do that for us, but leaders and ideas who embrace the future can help. And that’s why I’m running for president: because I believe our future can be greater than our past. It’s why I’m asking for your support, your prayers, your voice, and your vote.”