“You heard it here first,” quipped U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church. In a telephone town hall with constituents Monday that covered an amazingly wide range of topics over the course of just an hour, Beyer’s breaking news exclamation was in the context of calling attention to the potential of nuclear fusion energy, something he began talking about in a press statement this spring.
He brought it up in response to the subject of the challenges presented by global climate change, and he took some time to explain to the hundreds of constituents that were on the call. “Fusion is becoming feasible,” he said, noting the process of generating energy is the same as that which fuels our sun, that is, of gravity, or some powerful pressure, squeezing elements of hydrogen together.
He said that there are 23 companies in the U.S. that are now working on it, and said he’s creating a bipartisan caucus in Congress to focus on its development.
It will, once the technology is perfected to consistently generate the energy that can fire out of a nuclear fusion reaction, “replace all fossil fuels.”
He even explained how, if something went wrong, the result would only be to have the reaction cease for lack of pressure. Its raw fuel, he said, is sea water.
In fact, the promise of fusion has been around for decades, but seldom held to be practical, at least not for the time being.
But the times are changing, and to have a prominent U.S. lawmaker talking about it now may quietly constitute one of the biggest promises for humanity of our generation.
Still, electric vehicles remain an urgent mandate, with a major switch over from internal combustion engines to electric cars needed by 2030 or 2035.
“Climate change is very real and urgent,” Beyer said, which has something to do with not holding back on speaking out about the potential of fusion.
“Life has changed” as a result of the pandemic, “and it will be different,” Beyer predicted. Now, he said, a “sensible immigration policy is the only way to keep America strong.”
The labor force that the nation needs to fully recover and prosper will require it, he said.
As for the final U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, he said the process will be “painful,” and “there is no easy way out.” Afghanistan, he reminded those on the call, “has been known as a ‘graveyard of empires’ since Alexander the Great, and despite all the aid from the U.S. in the course of a 20-year engagement there, “the Afghanis remain incapable of fielding an effective fighting force.” It is going to be difficult relocating tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and their allies to the U.S.
He said that, domestically, there needs to be a huge push to win passage of H.R. 1, the so-called “For the People” election reform act that would have the effect of overriding scores of voter suppression bills being passed in Republican controlled state legislatures across the U.S.
The 2010 “Citizens United” decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that equated corporations with people was “one of the worst decisions ever, and H.R. 1 is the best shot at reversing that.”
He hailed the child tax credit, which will begin next month to put money into the hands of struggling households, $300 for every child under six and $250 for every child aged six to 17.
However, it will expire at the end of this year, unless it can be extended for five years, or better, permanently.
Rental mortgage assistance is most effective coming from the state, and his office should be contacted for help with it (703-658-5404).
Meanwhile, the IRS is backed up by 32 million returns now, and the Small Business Administration is also way backed up in getting out emergency loans.
On the plus side, he said a cryptocurrency regulation bill is being introduced that may help people from getting sucked into some serious scams.
While as many as a billion people on the planet have now received at least one vaccination shot against Covid-19,
“That means that 6.9 billion have not, and there is a clear concern for mutations of the virus in that context which could render the current vaccines ineffective.”