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The Chairman Speaks Exclusive with Cong. Rangel, Part 1

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.

AN: Didn't the recent spending bill passed by the Senate include provisions up to $25 billion for relief in such circumstances?

Rangel: We sent the bill over there and we paid for it by getting money from loopholes. They have a bill which they haven't paid for that really helps Iowa and the Western states more than it helps the Gulf States. Moreover, we have an energy package that is an exciting opportunity for two major reasons: First of all, it provides a real alternative to oil by reducing people's taxes through tax credits. The purpose here is to find an alternative that equals or beats the use of fossil fuels, oil and coal. And there is the prospect of solar energy.

AN: In some countries, like Israel, and particularly in the better neighborhoods in Jerusalem, many of the homes and businesses have solar panels on their roofs.

Rangel: Now we know such a development as solar panels are expensive, but we'll help you pay for it. We'll give you an incentive; so go solar. There is also the wind terminals we can invest in and hydro electricity. Even waste management and bio-thermo are possible alternatives. And we are looking into the agriculture, where ethanol is a possibility, and even old weeds can be converted into an energy source. The aim is to get to that place, to hit that balance where we are not dependent on Middle Eastern oil. But for me, the best thing is the number of jobs that will be created, and there are the related conservation measures. You get a hybrid car or one that uses flex fuel, we will help you pay for it. We'll give you a tax break on appliances you purchase that are attached to energy conservation. Take, for example, the insulation of homes. You could take every kid that dropped out of school and teach them how to insulate these apartments and buildings. This is an entirely new profession, but one that could be very rewarding for the kids and the community. Now this bill is very expensive, but we pay for it by closing loopholes. It's now at the Senate. Furthermore, we have millions of dollars that are involved with tax breaks for people to do research and development...and a variety of laws that are scheduled to expire on December 31. So, we extend them, along with mental health parity, and we put them all in one package