Hey Members of Congress: No More Leasing Gas-Guzzlers

rep. tom petri driving hydrocar

Although it went largely unnoticed in the broader tussle over the energy bill, an amendment authored by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver — that was approved right before the Congress' summer recess by a 218-196 vote — would allow congressmen to only lease eco-friendly cars. The Missouri Democrat estimates that the new provision will only affect about 100 of his colleagues — those who have been spending upwards of $1 million in taxpayer money every year to lease ginormous, gas-guzzling luxury cars. Cleaver himself leases a big van retrofitted to run on used cooking oil.

"If we are going to declare that we are moving toward energy independence, then the members of Congress using taxpayer dollars ought to be willing to give up big Cadillacs in order to lease an energy-efficient car," he said.

Cleaver's amendment isn't without its flaws (some might say glaring), however: for one thing, it doesn't define exactly which "low greenhouse-gas emitting vehicles" congressmen can use. Furthermore, it fails to explicitly state what gas-mileage standards the cars will have to achieve (details, people, details).

Even though the House narrowly approved the amendment, it faces an uphill battle in the Senate — which has yet to articulate a similar piece of legislation — and will need to be vetted by a conference committee before becoming law.

Still, it's a small step forward and one that has a chance of passing the Senate as well — especially when the best Republican critics like Rep. Joe Barton can muster to attack it is: "... it would be a mistake to put leaders in low greenhouse-gas emitting cars because they wouldn't accelerate quickly enough in an emergency."

Via ::McClatchy Newspapers: No more gas guzzlers for Congress? (news website)

See also: ::Tennessee Valley Authority Would Be Exempt From US House Energy Bill, Renewables Mandate