Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for holding this important hearing and I would like to congratulate you on presiding over your first subcommittee hearing as chairman.
Our hearing today is on the Defense Production Act or DPA.
I don't think there is any debate on whether or not the DPA is a valuable piece of legislation, that is much needed to preserve our national defense.
However, I and some of my colleagues do have some concerns over how the DPA has been used, specifically and most recently in California.
I think there is still debate over whether what was done by invoking the DPA and the Natural Gas Policy Act in January was a violation of the letter of the law.
But it certainly was a violation of Congressional intent.
I believe we must change the language of the DPA so it is not used as a de facto price control again.
I am very concerned that a clean, 3-year reauthorization will be too tempting a tool to use again, if, God forbid, we face more blackouts.
The DPA should be used only for national emergencies, not rolling blackouts.
Mr. Chairman, I do think that Chairman Sarbanes and yourself should be commended for trying to work in a bi-partisan fashion to move one of the Bush Administration's bills.
I, however, cannot support a 3-year extension without improvements to the law.
Let me say again: the DPA should be used to protect our national security, not to control prices.
I look forward to working with you, other members of the committee and the administration to hopefully find a solution that is agreeable to all.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.