Massa Press Conference: Abbreviated Version

Today's Massa press conference was well-attended and lengthy. Julie Sherwood at the Messenger-Post has already filed her take on both Massa's and Kuhl's press conference. My abbreviated report continues below.

Massa began by praising the recently-passed energy bill, HR 6899. Massa read the bill that passed and noted that, in addition to opening up drilling 50-150 miles offshore, it included $20 billion in tax incentives towards renewable energy and job creation. "A huge amount of that money could be captured in Western New York."

Massa addressed the question of whether that oil is accessible as follows:

The American People know that when the Good Lord set up the oil reserves, he didn't do it in a 50-mile band. Since 1988, the vast majority of the Continental Shelf has been open to drilling, and the oil companies have not drilled a single well.

Massa also noted that the bill was "incredibly comprehensive". It increases Trans-Alaskan Pipeline capacity, and bars the export of Alaskan crude overseas. It also swaps light sweet crude from the Strategic Oil Reserve, which Massa noted is the easiest to refine, with heavier oil.

In response to Bob Recotta's question whether he believes that this bill neutralizes drilling as a wedge issue, Massa contrasted the compromise inherent in the bill with the demonstrations by the Republicans on the darkened House floor. "It's one thing to stand up and [perform] a political act. It's another to find compromises in a bi-partisan effort."

As for why Kuhl voted for the bill, "Frankly, the only reason my opponent voted against it was to protect big oil tax handouts he voted for in 2005. That's a $14 billion giveaway."

Tim Mancuso from City Newspaper asked about the AIG bailout. Massa said that there's "no more clear example of more of the same or voting for change."

Rick Miller asked a number of questions about where Massa thought the bill was going. Massa was optimistic about Senate action and that there's a majority that wants the bill passed and sent to the President. He noted that Bush may choose to veto it "to protect his big oil cronies."

Miller also asked about debates. Massa pointed out that Kuhl had a fundraiser on the same day as the WXXI debate that he chose not to attend. "I cancel fundraisers when we have an opportunity to speak to the public."

Miller also asked about the Rangel issue.

Here's the bottom line. Charlie Rangel has called for an investigation of his own office, his own campaign, and himself. When there are findings of fact, we will do what is right. What I'm not willing to do is to make wild pronunciations without any basis if fact. If my opponent feels so strongly about this, he should look at who's been giving him money for years -- some are not just under investigation, they are under indictment.

Massa said "if something has to occur, trust me, I give lots of money back."