Apr 24 2008
"So we want to know, Mr. President – what is the Democrats' 'commonsense plan' to lower gas prices? And what is taking them so long to unveil it? The American people are waiting—and paying more at the pump each day they wait"
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor Thursday regarding the two-year anniversary of the Democrats' announcement of a 'commonsense plan' to lower gas prices, and the need to address the issue of making more of America's energy available to American consumers:
"Two years ago today, Democrats announced they had a 'commonsense plan' to lower gas prices.
"When Democrats took over control of Congress last January, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $2.32. Today, it is $3.53, according to AAA.
"Apparently, their 'commonsense plan' is not working as intended.
"In fact, since taking control of Congress last year, Democrats not only failed to deliver on their promise to lower gas prices – they have repeatedly pushed for policies that would raise – not lower – prices at the pump.
"Every week I hear from Kentuckians who are feeling the squeeze each time they fill up their tanks. High gas prices hurt families, hurt commuters, hurt truckers – who are paying record prices for diesel – and drive up the prices of daily necessities, including food.
"Yet some of our friends, reverting to form, appear to have no plan other than to increase taxes on energy companies – which will raise prices for consumers, not lower them.
"So – at a time of record high gas prices, Democrats want to tax them to even higher levels.
"The reality is, high gas prices are the result of misguided policies that have been in place for many years, and it will take time to bring them down.
"For example, for too long, we have kept too much of America's oil and gas resources locked up – off-limits – unavailable to help America's families meet their energy needs. This has left us 60 percent dependent on foreign sources of oil, and vulnerable to price spikes and the whims of foreign governments.
"We took a small step last Congress when we opened up an area in the Gulf of Mexico to energy production, but there is much more that we can – and should – do if we want to have a meaningful impact on supplies – and prices – in the long term.
"In 1995, when President Clinton vetoed a bill opening up a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to exploration, the price of oil was $19 a barrel. Over a decade later, when a million barrels a day from ANWR could have been flowing to U.S. consumers, oil is $118 a barrel. While there is not much government can do to lower gas prices overnight, this was a policy that – had it not been vetoed 13 years ago – could really be making a difference today.
"Democrats have also blocked proposals to increase refining capacity, which would lead to additional supplies and lower prices.
"We have had some successes, when we have acted in a reasonable, bipartisan way, as we did when we raised fuel economy standards and increased the use of renewable fuels in last year's energy bill.
"But we will not have a balanced, effective, sensible energy policy until we also address the issue of making more of America's energy available to American consumers.
"So we want to know, Mr. President – what is the Democrats' 'commonsense plan' to lower gas prices? And what is taking them so long to unveil it? The American people are waiting—and paying more at the pump each day they wait."