Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, H.R. 6608 provides supplemental income to House employees who are Armed Forces reservists and who are involuntarily called to active duty. The House will supplement the active military duty pay by making up the difference between the employee's military salary and the employee's House salary prior to their call to active service.
To be eligible for the supplemental income, employees must be employed by the House for at least 90 days prior to military activation. The cost of the pay supplements will come from appropriate House accounts and not charged to the employing office. In addition, the employee's salary will be subject to the cost of living adjustments in the same as other House employees.
Mr. Speaker, I introduced this bill to address family hardships caused by some reservists and National Guard members being deployed for the second or third time. These servicemen and women earn military wages while on active duty and must leave their families and jobs, often for an undetermined and unpredictable amount of time.
The private sector is supporting our soldiers and sailors by continuing to pay the difference between their usual salary and their active duty pay. This bill will offer the same for House employees.
This is a good bill with strong bipartisan support that honors the devoted public service of our House employees. Our active duty reservists should not endure undue financial hardship for heeding our Nation's call to service.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. EHLERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support H.R. 6608, the House Reservists Pay Adjustment Act. I thank Chairman Brady for his leadership on this issue, and I'm proud to join with him as a cosponsor on this important bill.
The men and women of the United States Armed Forces make many sacrifices to protect our freedom. They are asked to spend time away from their families, to put themselves in harm's way, and, in the case of some House staff, to accept a salary that is less than what they would normally earn in civilian life during the period that they are on active duty. The gap in pay experienced by these servicemen and women often causes undue hardship on themselves and their families and increases the already
heavy burden placed upon them as they leave for battle.
I am pleased to be able to find any reasonable method of assisting House staff, who are also members of the military, with the personal sacrifices they are asked to make to defend their country. This bill would compensate active servicemen and women for the difference in their combat pay and their official House salaries. These individuals have found not one but two careers that serve the public, and they should not experience a financial penalty for doing so.
I congratulate Chairman Brady for introducing this bill, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 6608.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. EHLERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Continuing with the discussion of energy, Mr. Speaker, let me just say I have a deep interest in the topic and have had for many years. Most of my colleagues here remember and recognize that I am a physicist, and physicists deal with energy all the time.
One of the biggest problems that we address is that energy is intangible. The public simply doesn't recognize what it is, how its obtained, what the limitations are, and so forth; and I think we should do a better job of educating them about these problems.
Another aspect is that energy is critical to every aspect of life.
As an example, we talk about the agricultural revolution. But very few people recognize that the agricultural revolution, even though attempted a number of times many, many years ago, did not actually succeed until people learned to domesticate their animals so they could do the plowing and thresh the wheat and so forth.
The second major revolution in history is the industrial revolution, once again directly tied to the use of energy. It's the first use of nonhuman and nonanimal energy with hydropower to drive the mills, later coal to drive the steam engines and so forth. And so the major revolutions in history took place in connection with the use of energy and the development of new forms of energy.
We are now at a critical point in our life as a Nation and as a planet. If we do not recognize the changes required in our energy use, we are going to retrogress. Instead of advancing, we will lose the advantages we have from our copious amounts of energy and end up in a state where we have less energy than we had before. This will have disastrous economic effects, unless we change our direction.
If you look back over history, virtually every recession has been tied to a dramatic increase in the cost of energy, which is something that we also have occurring now.
So this is a serious problem, something that should be addressed immediately, and should not wait for next year. There are a number of excellent proposals out there from both parties. I would hope that we would winnow these out and come up with proposals that truly accomplish what we have to do, and that is to preserve our standard of living by developing new sources of energy, certainly developing those that we already have and know about which we are not really using properly.
It's essential that we do this, but this isn't going to happen by itself. We need help from the Congress to lay down the guidelines for the people in the energy industry, to researchers in the national [Page: H7899]
labs and other labs to really tackle this problem and come up with new ideas.
I don't care if it's wind energy, which happens to be a part of solar energy; whether it's wave energy, which is also derived from solar energy; or whether it's photovoltaic cells. Naturally it helps that very soon photovoltaic cell research will be so good that we will have photovoltaic shingles on every house because we can make them at a cost that eventually will be less than that of the asphalt shingles. If we do that, every house becomes a power-generating system, and much of the electrical
needs of each homeowner can be met just by the use of solar shingles on the roof of their home.
This would be a tremendous boon to our country. Relatively free energy; you just buy the shingles which you have to buy anyway, and you get essentially free energy out of it.
So there are many options that we should be pursuing, and we should be encouraging and helping as a Congress, so that we can help the public that is becoming desperate about what to do about the cost of energy and the price of energy.
So I sincerely hope our Congress will tackle this issue and deal with it, and meet the needs of the public and of the planet at the same time.
With that, if you have no further speakers, I'm pleased to yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx).
Ms. FOXX. Thank you, Congressman Ehlers. I just want to add my comments to the ones that you've made.
I think that while I'm very much in support of this bill and we want to do whatever we can to help our employees bridge the gap between their military pay and the pay that they would receive here, I think one of the best things we can do for all the citizens of this country is to bring down the high price of gasoline, and that would serve everybody very well.
We can do that. We know we can do that. All we have to do is announce that we are going to expand the supply of American-made energy, and we will immediately bring down the price. That will help all of our citizens, which is what every Member of this Congress should be doing.
We will get to the alternatives. We can be completely energy independent in this country, but we can't do it overnight. In order to get to energy independence with alternatives, which Republicans support, we must supply more gas and oil in the short term, and I support those efforts.
I ask the Speaker, again, to bring forth the American Energy Act so that we can have an up-or-down vote on it and let the American people know are you a pro-American energy person or an anti-American energy person. That's the issue that we're facing.
Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I find myself a little miffed that they would have to politicize this soldier bill, but I understand we have two soldiers on that side of that bill.
With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support this bill.
I yield back the balance of my time.