WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Kit Bond today criticized the Democratic majority in Congress for closing down Congress for a month-long vacation without taking real action to lower gas prices for Americans across the country suffering from record pain at the pump.
"The Democrats have abandoned the American people to our gas price crisis," said Bond. "While Democrats shut down work in Congress for a month-long vacation, there is no break for families in Missouri struggling with $4 a gallon gas."
Bond had gone to the Senate floor almost daily to demand action to lower gas prices. Bond pressed for action to lower gas prices with amendments to open new offshore oil production off our U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, reverse the current legislative moratorium on certain offshore drilling, to tap the 2 trillion barrels of oil in shale deposits under the Rocky Mountains, establish a U.S. manufacturing supply base for the advanced batteries used in hybrid, plug-in and electric vehicles.
Unfortunately, the Democrats, who control Congress, blocked Bond's efforts at every turn. Last week, Senate Democrats canceled an Appropriations Committee markup to prevent a vote on an amendment Senator Bond intended to propose to reverse the legislative moratorium blocking new oil production off our Atlantic and Pacific shores. Bond's amendment would have provided the American people 18 billion new barrels of oil, equivalent to 10 years of oil supplies. Oil markets reacted immediately to news of possible new oil supplies after President Bush reversed a similar presidential moratorium, with the price of oil dropping $10 a barrel after the announcement and $20 since. Bond's amendment would have pushed oil prices even lower by undercutting speculators bidding up the price of oil by relying on short future supplies to keep prices high. The Democratic Chairman of the Committee later confirmed that he cancelled the meeting because Democrats knew that they would lose the vote.
Democrats then blocked Bond's oil production and conservation amendments on the Senate floor. This treatment was not unique to Senator Bond; Democrats blocked all amendments from consideration during the energy debate. Now that Democrats have adjourned the Senate for the month of August, the real losers, however, are the American people who must now spend the remaining summer driving season without hope that gas price relief is coming.
Bond also supports action against excessive speculation by closing completely the Enron loophole and forcing all traders betting on future commodity prices to play by the same fair rules. However, Bond does not believe taxing new oil exploration or production will lower gas prices. Taxing something has never produced more of something or lowered its price. Likewise, suing oil producing nations as some propose will likely backfire on the American people by forcing those countries to take their oil to other places like China. For those concerned with the size of oil company profits, Bond believes that the best way to see lower oil company profits is to take aggressive action to force down oil prices. Lower prices equals lower profits, and the best way to address lower prices is bold action on the fundamental problem of too little oil supply.
Bond remains hopeful that Washington politicians will hear the cries of suffering from $4 gas and put the needs of families, farmers and truckers ahead of their own political agendas. This is no time to be protecting the Democratic presidential candidate who opposes new offshore oil production. America is suffering and they deserve relief from their pain at the pump.