Friday, April 24, 2009

Gingrich Rants About Jacuzzis, Admits He Hasn't Read Heart of Climate Bill

Newt Gingrich appeared before the House Energy Subcommittee today to testify on climate legislation being considered in the House. It was an odd testimony and Q&A, during which the former Republican Speaker of the House (and former supporter of climate action) repeatedly ranted about a provision in the bill that would empower the Department of Energy to set energy efficiency standards for "portable spa units" - aka jacuzzis. Apparently Gingrich considers this effort to ensure that energy-intensive luxury appliances are more efficient a devastating assault on personal freedom.

What's probably most interesting about this rant though, is that Gingrich seemed to have no idea that the section was about energy efficiency standards, and not about the cap and trade regulations on greenhouse gas emissions that are at the heart of the bill and seemed to be the intended target of Gingrich's ire.

Well that's less of a surprise when you note that Gingrich inadvertently admitted to not having read the cap and trade provisions in the legislation AT ALL.

As he began his testimony, Gingrich preemptively responded to the question Oregon Representative Greg Walden (R) had repeatedly asked of all witnesses appearing before the committee, "Have you actually read all of this bill?"

Gingrich told the panel, "I did begin reading the draft bill, but to be candid, stopped at about page 236" when he got to the apparently offensive section about jacuzzi efficiency standards.

That's notable, because if you're an avid climate wonk like me and have actually read most of the draft bill, you know that the cap and trade title of the legislation begins long after page 236 and the energy efficiency title. The "Reducing Global Warming Pollution" title of the bill (Title III) actually starts on page 322, which Gingrich didn't even skim apparently. Maybe next time, Mr. Gingrich, you should actually read (or at least look at) the parts of the bill you are so sure are going to wreck the American economy.

You can watch Gingrich at CSPAN's archives here. He slips up at about 2 minutes in and admits to stopping short of the Global Warming Title.

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