Monday, June 9, 2008

Republicans Blame Democrats for 'A Nation of $4 Gasoline'

By Susan Jones Senior Editor
June 09, 2008

( - As expected, gasoline prices keep rising, and Republicans are placing the blame squarely on the Democrat-led Congress. Republicans apparently see "pain at the pump" as a key election issue.

As of Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline stood at a record $4.00. The price has zoomed above $4.00 in a number of states.

"As a result of this dubious milestone, motorists will pay on average $1.67 more per gallon than they were when the 110th Congress began. This represents a 71 percent increase during Nancy Pelosi's speakership," said Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Putnam said on the Democrats' watch, "America has become a nation of $4 gasoline. This expensive milestone arrives two years removed from an endless stream of assurances by Democrat leaders that they had their hands on a 'commonsense plan' to lower gas prices," Putnam said Sunday in a news release.

Drill for U.S. oil

Putnam accused Democrat leaders of making "empty promises."

The American people, he added, want "real solutions that will invest in American resources, create American jobs, and lower prices for American consumers." That means tapping U.S. oil reserves.

House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called it "insane" that the Democrat-led Congress is still refusing to allow increased production of American energy.

"Today marks another dubious day for this Do-Nothing Democratic Congress. On their watch, gas prices have soared to new heights, and by refusing to schedule a vote on a plan to increase American-made energy to help lower gas prices, congressional Democrats are complicit in this unprecedented surge in fuel costs," Boehner said on Sunday.

He called it "inexcusable" that Democrats won't take "meaningful action" to reduce gasoline prices, something that would help the entire economy, he said.

In April 2006, Democrats promised the American people a "commonsense plan" to bring down gas prices. But the plan does not include drilling for U.S. oil reserves. (See earlier story)

For the record, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has said he opposes oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: ''ANWR is one of the pristine places in the world,'' McCain said in South Carolina last December. ''I wouldn't drill in the Grand Canyon either, and I wouldn't drill in the Everglades.''

As Cybercast News Service has reported, huge basins of untapped oil can be found on federal lands throughout the United States, according to the federal government.

But much of that domestic oil supply cannot -- and may never be -- recovered, because it lies under national parks and national monuments, or it is subject to environmental laws and restrictions that make drilling prohibitive. The report, which was produced at the request of Congress by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, said there are 279 million acres under federal management where oil and gas potentially could be extracted. (See earlier story)

Republicans insist that the solution lies in boosting the U.S. oil supply -- by drilling right here.

"House Republicans have put forth a comprehensive plan to help lower gas prices by harnessing new technologies and unlocking America's natural energy resources in an environmentally responsible way," Boehner said.

"Every American has a right to ask: What will it take for the Democrat-controlled Congress to finally take action and help ease the pain of the Pelosi Premium on behalf of struggling families and small businesses? Speaker Pelosi has the power to schedule a vote on our plan to begin breaking America's costly dependence on foreign sources of energy. She should not wait another day to do so."

Republicans are reminding the American people average gas prices under the Democrat-controlled Congress have risen from $2.33 a gallon on January 4, 2007 -- the first day of the Democratic Majority -- to the current $4.00 a gallon.

(But Pelosi, on her official Web site, notes that gasoline prices have "more than doubled since President Bush took office.")

Republicans say they are committed to boosting supplies of all forms of energy "right here at home" to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of oil. They insist oil drilling in the U.S. can be done without damage to the environment.

Republicans also are promoting "advanced" nuclear power and next-generation coal as well as renewable energy from wind and hydroelectric power.

They want to roll back burdensome regulations that limit the construction of new oil refineries.

And they would encourage greater energy efficiency by offering conservation tax incentives to Americans who make their home, car, and business more energy efficient.

The Democrats' plan says nothing about drilling for new sources of oil.

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