Showers Pass Warehouse Sale

House passes energy plan despite ridicule over bike commuter benefit

Posted by on August 6th, 2007 at 2:39 pm

[See below for YouTube version of McHenry’s statement.]

Poster that accompanied a statement on the House floor by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) who said bicycles were a, “19th century solution to a 21st century problem.”

Last Saturday the House of Representatives passed Energy Independence legislation that amends a section of the IRS code to include “bicycles” in the definition of transportation covered by the qualified transportation fringe benefit.

Introduced earlier this year by Congressman Earl Blumenauer as H.R. 1498, the provision calls for a $20 monthly benefit for riding a bike to work.

However, according to Blumenauer, even this modest amount sparked some heated opposition — even ridicule — from other House lawmakers.

Patrick McHenry, a republican from North Carolina stood alongside the poster above and said bicycles were an “antiquated” solution to our energy crisis. He posted the video of his speech on his website with the title, “Congressman McHenry Slams Democrats’ Antiquated Energy Plan.”

Here are excerpts from his statement on the House floor:

Rep. McHenry

“A major component of the Democrats’ energy legislation and the Democrats’ answer to our energy crisis is, hold on, wait one minute, wait one minute, it is promoting the use of the bicycle.

Oh, I cannot make this stuff up. Yes, the American people have heard this. Their answer to our fuel crisis, the crisis at the pumps, is: Ride a bike.

Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: “Save energy, ride a bike.”

Some might argue that depending on bicycles to solve our energy crisis is naive, perhaps ridiculous. Some might even say Congress should use this energy legislation to create new energy, bring new nuclear power plants on line, use clean coal technology, energy exploration, but no, no.

They want to tell the American people, stop driving, ride a bike. This is absolutely amazing.

Apparently, the Democrats believe that the miracle on two wheels that we know as a bicycle will end our dependence on foreign oil. I cannot make this stuff up. It is absolutely amazing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Democrats, promoting 19th century solutions to 21st century problems. If you don’t like it, ride a bike. If you don’t like the price at the pumps, ride a bike.

Stay tuned for the next big idea for the Democrats: Improving energy efficiency by the horse and buggy.”

Wow. I can’t even imagine how I would respond to this if McHenry was my representative. Thank goodness we’ve got Earl huh?

UPDATE: Someone YouTubed the video of McHenry’s statement…

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

93
Leave a Reply

avatar
93 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
62 Comment authors
Do The Right Thing » I’m Not Making This Up » Sweat365 » Fitness CommunityJackieMeridianmarkDonald Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Brad
Guest
Brad

It looks like the GOP\’s national health care solution is \”Drive SUVs, Get Fat, Die of a Massive Coronary\” and \”Drive More! Kids Like Asthma!\”

Duane
Guest
Duane

hmmm… about another poster? a montage perhaps, of a traffic jam (new fuels won\’t change this) enveloped in hazy smog, along with an accident and a hearse with the words \”40,000+ killed each year\” and a group of overweight kids and adults. add mr mchenry\’s photo and words to the effect that state \”why change what works?\” if i had the capability, i\’d create something like that to fight back.

Meghan
Guest
Meghan

This sort of ridiculous attitude is why I don\’t live in a bike-UNfriendly community anymore.

I grew up in the Kansas City area, and this sort of rhetoric is, sadly, still the reigning school of transportation thought there. If you ask people there, bikes don\’t belong anywhere but on a suburban cul-de-sac, being ridden by an 8 year old.

I\’m so tired of it…

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

\”Antiquated\”, says he who relies on a late 12-century invention to aid his vision handicap, instead of opting for the schmancy deal with the lasers. McHenry\’s smug, hypocritical jowels ought to be the first bit of fuel on the fire when the revolution comes. 😛

David Dean
Guest
David Dean

Yeah, and thank goodness his constituents aren\’t my neighbors.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I have lots of things to say about this goofball McHenry, but also YAY FOR THE PASSAGE OF THE BIKE COMMUTER BENEFIT ACT! Nice work, Earl.

JDB
Guest
JDB

Mr. McHenry,
Very cool picture. Is that an early model Bakfiets? Until there is a run on Honey Nut Cheerios, I will not have any problem affording fuel to get to work. I feel sorry for you and the people of North Carolina’s Tenth Congressional Distict you (mis)represent.

Tbird
Guest

Does anyone have the email address of Mr. McHenry? It seems he might like to hear exactly how important bicycling is to all of us. Even though he is not our rep, he is part of the US legislative body, which enacts, or in this case ridicules things that effect all of us.

Meghan- I hate to be a Nay sayer, but you do live in a bike UN-friendly community: It\’s called the USA.

Meghan
Guest
Meghan

TBird: Okay, well, I\’ve long ago stopped thinking that the rest of the country might be my community. (I seem to share few beliefs with the rest of them, somehow.)

And plus, I thought Oregon was rapidly headed for status as our own separate country. (After all, The Daily Show calls Oregon \”California\’s Canada\”.)

dennis
Guest
dennis

Sounds like the dipwad\’s auditioning for FOX radio for when he eventually loses his seat.

For only $1 million, if we can get more people to ride bikes and free up the roads, we are getting a steal as compared to the cost of creating and updating roads.

Tbird
Guest

Meghan- I hear ya…Unfortunately we are connected to them, I\’m even related to a few.
\”California\’s Canada\” I like that.

Seriously though, we need to send this Knuckle Dragging Crony a few emails to let him know his kind are an \”endangered feces\”, oh I mean species.
go to this link:
http://mchenry.house.gov/Contact/

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

This guy has been spending way too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh. He sounds just like Rush, with all of the \”ladies and gentlemen\” and such.

Maybe McHenry is auditioning to be Rush\’s fill-in when Limbaugh is sick or in rehab.

tom
Guest
tom

why does it not surprise me that this beacon of good judgement comes from the south?! ironic that his state also relies on 400 million from TOBACCO revenue too.

Peter W
Guest

Thats awesome news (the bike part, not the ridicule)!

So, anyone know when and how we start using this benefit? Can I use the $20 towards a new U-Lock?

Alison
Guest
Alison

Woohoo! Good job to Earl and the rest of the house for passing this good sense bill.

Sadly, McHenry\’s comments reflect many American\’s belief that it is a birthright to drive, despite the fact that walking and/or riding a bike in some situations makes more sense (i.e, it\’s healthier, cheaper, more efficient). It demonstrates that we have a ways to go to shift that thinking. Luckily, Portland and other bicycle-friendly communities are here to show how it can be done.

andy
Guest
andy

Jonathan included a link to McHenry\’s website in his post; there\’s a \”contact us\” link within there. Contact away!

Tom
Guest
Tom

\”The miracle on two wheels that we know as a bicycle will end our dependence on foreign oil. It is absolutely amazing!\” -it sure is…

Stay tuned for the next big idea for the Democrats: Improving energy efficiency by the horse and buggy.” -very inefficient, we would never…

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

“Save energy, ride a bike.” Um…yeah. That statement is self-evidently true, isn\’t it?

If that\’s the best bike opponents can come up with then we are in pretty good shape. McHenry\’s tone is mocking but he isn\’t making an argument that has any weight at all.

It\’s like he\’s ridiculing the use of anitbiotics to combat bacterial infections: \”19th century solutions to 21st century problems.\”

Well does it work or does it not? It works… we win.

offset
Guest
offset

If Rep. McHenry has spent any time outside this country, he would have realized that the rest of the developed (and undeveloped) countries rely on bicycles as a part of a comprehensive transportation plan.

Besides, some of the best solutions to our societal problems come from ancient concepts and ideas.

JDB
Guest
JDB

Actually Mr. McHenry\’s site won\’t let you send an email unless you are from his district and have a zip code like 28602, 28603, 28653, 28680. Sorry guess we\’re out of luck.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Yet another reason to be glad to be living in Earl\’s state, and not Patrick\’s.

greenkrypto
Guest
greenkrypto

Bikes and Mass-transit are no substitute for energy-wasting 9-seat SUV\’s, now are they? I\’m willing to bet Mr.McHenry has never ridden a bus either. The positive health and environmental effects of riding a bike to work are far greater than the puny \”monthly benefit\”…let\’s get real!

Phil
Guest

A gold star goes to the first person to ID a $1 mil federal pork earmark that his rural district gets.

a.O
Guest
a.O

@ #9 & #11:

The Daily Show debated whether Oregon was best characterized as California\’s Canada or Washington\’s Mexico and ended up concluding that the best description was Idaho\’s Portugal.

Anyway, what can you say about a guy like McHenry. The word \”douchbag\” comes to mind, but I\’ll be more polite and simply say he\’s as wrong as he possibly could be…so wrong I don\’t even know where to start.

I hope that, in addition to pissing you off, attitudes like this inspire you to take an even more active role in your government. We need to get thinking like McHenry\’s (if you can call that thinking) out of government as soon as possible.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

\’Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: “Save energy, ride a bike.”\’

The federal budget is an estimated $2.3 TRILLION, this guy is foaming over $1 million. You can understand why the Democrats regained control of Congress in \’06. The fact this idiot got elected is a sad reflection on the state of North Carolina.

arosvelte
Guest
arosvelte
Jan
Guest
Jan

I live in DC. Unfortunately staffers at representative offices delete email coming from non-constituents. You\’re more effective telling your own state representative to publicly ridicule him on the house floor. That way it\’s part of the public record, and news media pick up on it and may force him to clarify his stupidity. That would be satisfaction !

joeb
Guest
joeb

If you want to be more offended, look at this 31 year old congressman\’s profile (includes references to pork and an endorsement from Tom Delay). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_T._McHenry

I wanted to hear what people from NC are saying, but I haven’t found bikeraleigh.org.

Nice to find this NC bicycle advocacy site though http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/

Todd B
Guest
Todd B

Yes he was complaining that 1/16,000 of this bill was being applied to bike transportation.

$20 a month vs. the almost $200 one can write off for parking a car.

Yes thanks you Earl and others who supported this effort…but it is still so small of a benefit as compared to the transit and parking tax write offs. (Why so small Congress?)

(Note: It is less than what City of Portland offers its employees to bike to work, but 200 percent more than what the City of Vancouver provides – as a comparison.)

Do not go out and spend your $20 yet…it has to be signed into law first..or Congress has to outvote the President\’s veto.

Graham
Guest
Graham

\”Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: \’Save energy, ride a bike.\’\”

One MILLION dollars? Wow, with that kind of money the federal government could pay for, oh… 7.38 minutes in Iraq?

What a complete tool. N.C. must be bursting with pride.

Ken
Guest
Ken

20$ a month?? Awesome!

In one year I can afford to slow and go through one stop sign down by OMSI!

In all seriousness it is cool to at least to have bikes included. This rep McHenry looks like a few rides on a bike would do him some good.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

The $1 million in taxpayer funds that Rep. McHenry got all blustery over is about the same (on a per-district basis) as the more than $2,000 of taxpayer money he spent getting a flat-screen TV for his office.

Here\’s a link to a recent newspaper article that shows his priorities for spending:

http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ/MGArticle/WSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173352264277

Martha S.
Guest
Martha S.

……..WOW. That was the most impressively idiotic thing I\’ve seen in a suit since… well, the last time I saw our president. Seriously, that is some serious and impressive stupidity.

On the bright side, yay! Even more savings for those of us actually capable of realizing that the general norm is not necessarily the best way to do something.

Russ
Guest

Brad..i love that…let\’s see what his speech would sound like if we applied it to healthcare, shall we?

A major component of the Democrats’ healthcare legislation and the Democrats’ answer to our obesity crisis is, hold on, wait one minute, wait one minute, it is promoting healthy eating and exercise.

Oh, I cannot make this stuff up. Yes, the American people have heard this. Their answer to obesity and the coronary disease, is: Eat healthy.

Democrats believe that using taxpayer funds in this bill to the tune of $1 million a year should be devoted to the principle of: “Stop obesity, eat healthy.”

Some might argue that depending on diet and exercise to solve our obesity crisis is naive, perhaps ridiculous. Some might even say Congress should use this healthcare legislation to create new miracle foods, bring new gastro-intestine surgeries on line, liposuction, GMO\’s, but no, no.

They want to tell the American people, stop eating, get exercise. This is absolutely amazing.

Apparently, the Democrats believe that the miracle of healthy living that we know as a diet and exercise will end our obesity crisis. I cannot make this stuff up. It is absolutely amazing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Democrats, promoting 19th century solutions to 21st century problems. If you don’t want to get fat, don\’t eat. If you don’t like heart surgeries, get some exercise.

Stay tuned for the next big idea for the Democrats: Solving our energy crisis by riding a bicycle.

John C
Guest

Of course the republican congressman would mention clean coal and nuclear power. He\’s towing the line of who pays him, and is a mirror of Tom Delay. So no surprise with the comments. The big surprise is that \”the baby congressman\”, at age 31, has no sense reality and has been convinced that the two bad ideas mentioned above are good ones. Wow! Thank god for Earl B, and all the other good representatives we have.

One more note. I moved from Portland to Oahu recently. Not bike unfriendly, but definitely not Portland. Lots of weekend riders but not to many commuters. Anyhow, I take my daughter to school every morning on the extracycle. The drivers see me every day going to the store, library, etc.on the bike, so they know it\’s doable. It has turned heads and a lot of people have asked me about it. People realize there is another way then the car when they have a good example. All it takes is to spark the mind, then the rest will follow. Especially in places that are not like Portland.

(Sorry about the long post).

joeb
Guest
joeb

\”The drivers see me every day going to the store, library, etc.on the bike, so they know it\’s doable. It has turned heads and a lot of people have asked me about it. People realize there is another way then the car when they have a good example. All it takes is to spark the mind, then the rest will follow.\”

John C, add some pouring rain and it was people like you demonstrating the doable that turned me into a year round bike commuter. There must be thousands more like me that just need to see the example. And I hope more examples creates even more momentum. Who knows, maybe McHenry in 5 years and 50 pounds…

I get all the benefit I need without the $20/month break. But if planes, tanks and automobiles are being subsidized, hey, I\’ll take the $20 and distribute it back into the local brewereconomy.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

I told my great-uncle Joel who just happens to be from Lenoir (in Sen. McHenry\’s district) about this fool who represents him. He copied me the missive he sent.

\”By ridiculing bicycles as means transportation you actually come off sounding like a fool. The majority of our of auto trips our single occupancy commuter trips. The bicycle is the most efficient means of transportation for this kind of trip. This truth does not change just because it was invented in the 19th century. Are the teachings of Christ less relevant because they are 2000 years old? Of course not! And when this country truly sacrificed during WWII one of the main things people on the home front did was to conserve fuel. Guess which 19th century invention many folks used? The bicycle. I guess we were just a bunch of fools to be ridiculed by the likes of you.\”

Todd B
Guest
Todd B

Aloha John C…did you find house on Oahu in one of the flater and more bike friendly neighborhoods? And have you checked out the HBL (Hawai`i Bicycling League) over in Kaimuki off of 9th Ave.?

-Todd (formerly of Kaimuki)

Martha S.
Guest
Martha S.

Glad to hear that someone knew a constituent of this guy, and to hear that said constituent said something about this.

And Russ? Thanks for that. I\’d been festering in anger for a bit before I read that… it really helped me to calm down a bit and at least laugh at this.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Regarding the 19th century, in which century exactly does he think the automobile was invented?

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Russ, #34 – Great post! Love the snark! Can\’t wait to read the next in the series, \”Beat poverty, work harder.\” 🙂

Jean Reinhardt
Guest
Jean Reinhardt

I bring you Republicans and other opponents of alternative transit, advocating the MASS TREASON that is automobile-based road systems. These folks must really hate the United States of America a whole lot to want to keep buying oil from the Islamofascists who are waging war on us. I ride a bike because I enjoy it and want to keep my American cash out of the hands of religion-warped Islamic psychotics. Obviously, if you oppose bike lanes, light rail, sidewalks, etc., you want to help more American dollars flowing to Al Qaeda. Hate your country? Drive more!
You could say that the genuine America-haters lost this one.

mtmann
Guest
mtmann

I read this and immediately tried to fire off a reply to Rep. McHenry. Stymied, of course, by not being a constituent. Cooled down a bit and sent a letter to Earl B. with the request he deliver it to his colleague.

What I find most…disconcerting, I guess, is the dismissiveness in his comments. As some posters have implied, those of us who use bikes as transportation teach by example and that\’s how the revolution will be sustained and grow. I\’m reading the book Team of Rivals, about President Lincoln and his cabinet. One thing I\’m learning – that Lincoln was a master at – was that no one ever had his mind changed by being told he was wrong. I think Representative McHenry needs to take a ride with Earl and a nice working vacation trip to Portland. I\’ll even buy him a beer after the ride.

David Feldman
Guest
David Feldman

Jean above makes an interesting point–why is the \”conservative\” position re transit one that is in support of the transportation mode that channels direct financial aid to our country\’s geopolitical enemies? Why isn\’t it the right wing in the US that is supportive of bike lanes, sidewalks, buses, and train tracks? Curious, ain\’t it?

sheldon
Guest
sheldon

I laughed when I read the rep\’s comments. I\’m economist by training and doing some back of the envelope calculations I figure riding my bike to and from work is worth about $15,000-20,000 per year for me. This is from cost savings due to not owning a car, not paying for a health club membership and time savings.

Oh and I love the Daily Show\’s comments about Oregon being California\’s Canada. I don\’t have cable, but I came up with that analogy as well. As a Canadian now living in PDX the similarities are eerie. The attitudes of your typical Canadian to the US are pretty much identical of those of a typical Oregonian to California.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Because the GOP is largely bankrolled by corporate concerns in the oil, automobile, and the energy trading industries. They keep middle class America frightened of terrorism and then encourage us to drive and shop to \”protect\” our way of life. Who wouldn\’t love the message \”Want to thumb your nose at terrorists? Go to the mall in your new Chevy Suburban. That\’s how freedom rolls!\”

Angela
Guest
Angela

Yikes. I love my home state and although it brings us nuts like this and plenty of tobacco (I\’m the granddaughter of a tobacco farmer) the Tarheel state also gave us the likes of Appalachian bluegrass, Charles Kuralt and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, among other great things. And it was 15 years ago in Chapel Hill where I first lived car-free and traveled solely by bike – inspired by the bike culture there. But damn it – this is why I live here in PDX now! The truly brave souls are the ones who are still there, pounding away at folks like this trying to make a change. Sadly, the conservatives back home are just louder and far more idiotic, and the more progressive minded folks are simply tired of having to yell louder. I agree – urge Earl to speak up against him and get it on the public record.

andy
Guest
andy

While Charlotte is not technically part of McHenry\’s district (thanks, gerrymandering!), his district almost entirely surrounds Charlotte.

Here\’s a link to the local newspaper opinion page. Give it to \’em:
http://www.charlotte.com/opinion/story/23556.html

ML
Guest
ML

Sir, *moderated*. Thinking such as yours is what has gotten this country into the mess that it\’s in. (Leave it to the republicans to botch things and be proud of it) I am from N.C. and am wondering how you got elected in the first place. Hopefully it won\’t happen again!

John C
Guest

I am writing the Charlotte paper today, thanks for the link! I am also going to write my congressman in Hawaii to pass the message on to McHenry, now that this is my home.

Todd, I bought a place in Hawaii Kai, and I joined the HBL the day I got here! BTW, Kiamuki kind of reminds me of Hawthorne with BC Burrito and the older neighborhoods.

Aloha