April 28, 2006- The President Claims Power to Torture, Tap, and Declassify, But Power to Increase Fu

Washington, DC-  After six years of expanding Presidential powers in many spheres, President Bush has called on Congress to give him power to increase the fuel economy standards on cars – authority which he apparently already has.  Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a co-author of a bipartisan bill to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, today found it curious that the Bush Administration would ask for powers it already had been given.

“Yesterday, the President ‘encouraged’ Congress to give him authority that he already has to address fuel economy standards.  I find it hard to believe that a President who has claimed the authority to eternally detain prisoners, resort to torture in certain cases, and wiretap American citizens without consulting Congress feels that he needs permission from Congress to mandate that cars be made more fuel efficient!

“The President has given a lot of lip service to doing what it takes to get the job done.  He declares earnestly his intention to break America’s addiction to oil, but he won’t walk the walk.  Stop stalling, Mr.  President.  Use the authority you have to mandate better fuel efficiency for cars.

“President Kennedy demonstrated leadership when he pushed America to compete by challenging the nation to put a man on the moon.  President Bush needs to challenge America to build a more fuel efficient car.  This isn’t rocket science – it is auto mechanics -- and it could save Americans millions of barrels of oil every year and thousands of lives in unnecessary conflicts based on the global struggle for oil.  Our continued reliance on foreign oil is a threat to our national security.  More fuel efficient cars could make a real difference – we use 20 million barrels of oil a day and two-thirds of that is consumed in the transportation sector.”

During Committee, Floor and Conference action on the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Rep. Markey offered amendments that would have achieved a meaningful increase in CAFE standards. The provisions, aimed at reducing the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, faced significant opposition from the automotive industry and were defeated in the House of Representatives.  Rep. Markey is also a co-author of stand-alone legislation that would raise CAFE standards for cars and light trucks from the current level of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) to 33 mpg over the next 10 years. By 2025, this move would save 2.6 million barrels of oil each day. 

For more information regarding the Rep. Markey’s work in the area of energy and the environment, please see http://markey.house.gov/



U.S. CODE PROVIDES AUTHORITY FOR THE PRESIDENT TO SET CAFE STANDARDS FOR CARS -Section 32902 § 32902. Average fuel economy standards

(a) Non-passenger automobiles. At least 18 months before the beginning of each model year, the Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe by regulation average fuel economy standards for automobiles (except passenger automobiles) manufactured by a manufacturer in that model year. Each standard shall be the maximum feasible average fuel economy level that the Secretary decides the manufacturers can achieve in that model year. The Secretary may prescribe separate standards for different classes of automobiles.
(b) Passenger automobiles. Except as provided in this section, the average fuel economy standard for passenger automobiles manufactured by a manufacturer in a model year after model year 1984 shall be 27.5 miles a gallon.
(c) Amending passenger automobile standards.
(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Secretary of Transportation may prescribe regulations amending the standard under subsection (b) of this section for a model year to a level that the Secretary decides is the maximum feasible average fuel economy level for that model year. Section 553 of title 5 applies to a proceeding to amend the standard. However, any interested person may make an oral presentation and a transcript shall be taken of that presentation.
(2) If an amendment increases the standard above 27.5 miles a gallon or decreases the standard below 26.0 miles a gallon, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit the amendment to Congress. The procedures of section 551 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6421) apply to an amendment, except that the 15 calendar days referred to in section 551(c) and (d) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 6421(c), (d)) are deemed to be 60 calendar days, and the 5 calendar days referred to in section 551(f)(4)(A) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 6421(f)(4)(A)) are deemed to be 20 calendar days. If either House of Congress disapproves the amendment under those procedures, the amendment does not take effect.
Source: US Code


New York Times: Bush Administration relied on Unusually Expansive Presidential Authority
“From the government's detention of Americans as ‘enemy combatants’ to the just-disclosed eavesdropping in the United States without court warrants, the administration has relied on an unusually expansive interpretation of the president's authority. That stance has given the administration leeway for decisive action, but it has come under severe criticism from some scholars and the courts.”

Boston Globe: Bush “Elected King”
“When it comes to foreign policy and the president's role as commander in chief, 'Yoo concludes that for all intents and purposes we have an elected king,’ says Michael J. Glennon, a professor of international law at Tufts University's Fletcher School, reflecting a common view among left and centrist scholars”.

Time Magazine: White House Argued Bush License “cannot be constrained by any laws passed by Congress”
 “Bush's claims of wartime license are so great--the White House and Justice Department have argued that the Commander in Chief's pursuit of national security cannot be constrained by any laws passed by Congress, even when he is acting against U.S. citizens--that some Senators are considering a constitutional amendment to limit his...”


April 28, 2006


CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
Michal Freedhoff