The High Price of Energy is First Order of Business for GAC

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Thursday that an examination of the high price of energy would be the committee?s top priority under Democratic leadership.

At a press conference, Lieberman announced the committee would hold two energy hearings this month, one on June 13, to explore the effects of deregulation on the cost of natural gas and electricity and one on June 20, to determine if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is fulfilling its responsibility to provide “just and reasonable” energy rates to consumers.

“Before I came to the Senate, I spent six rewarding years as Attorney General of Connecticut, during which time my office worked on behalf of the citizens of my state,” Lieberman said. “I was a public advocate then, as I hope to be a public advocate now. In my view, this committee?s chief purpose should be to work for America?s taxpayers to ensure their federal government is efficient, effective, and ethical. This committee?s interest is the public interest.”

Lieberman outlined other committee goals. They include a continuation of the committee?s traditional interest in curbing waste and fraud in government programs, the efficiencies promised by a well-coordinated electronic government, the Bush Administration?s plans for regulatory rollbacks, the need to ensure a talented and capable federal workforce, reauthorization of the computer security law and the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Lieberman also pledged to work on a bipartisan basis with Ranking Republican Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., and all other members of the committee, in order to fill out the committee?s agenda.

“I want to emphasize that I understand from my involvement in last year?s national election that the voters of our country are pretty evenly split in their party loyalties,” he said. “But, as Majority Leader Daschle said yesterday, the people are united in their demand for action. For action to occur – for our legislative goals to be accomplished – we must work together with our Republican colleagues, and I intend to do so on this committee.

“I will not use the powers that come with this committee chairmanship to practice the politics of personal attacks and destruction. I reject the idea of wasting taxpayer dollars on investigations aimed at no more than political retribution. I will refuse to allow oversight to become overkill. Throughout my career in public service, I have always worked hard and in a bipartisan manner to produce results for the people I serve, I intend to do so now as Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.”