Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS DEMAND A REAL COMMITMENT TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

Washington, DC — With Americans across the country paying the price for energy policies that the White House let oil companies write, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and James Clyburn (D-SC) today called on the Bush Administration to put their responsibility to the American people before their friendship with Big Oil.

“This Administration is simply not credible when they talk about energy independence,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “For five years, this Administration has let oil companies write America’s energy policies. Now, as the American people are punished at gas stations for failures in the White House, Bush Republicans are offering more giveaways to Big Oil. America deserves better, and it’s time for a new direction.”

“We are living in a new era of robber barons,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “The American consumer is paying record prices, while oil companies make record profits and make record contributions to Republicans. Democrats have real plans that would end our dependence on foreign oil in the long term – and we intend to do it within 10 years.”

Senator Schumer said, “As average Americans are being tipped upside down at the gas pump, this Administration and the Republican Congress continue to generously tip big oil companies with unnecessary tax breaks and subsidies. Competition no longer exists in the oil business and the Administration needs to finally get tough on its friends in big oil to give consumers some quick relief.”

“While we must provide relief to sky-high energy prices, today’s energy crisis is also an opportunity to finally get serious about making our country less dependent and vulnerable to oil.” said Senator Cantwell, the Senate Democrats’ point person on energy issues. “American consumers demand real answers to that question – both for our pocketbooks and for our national security. In the days and months ahead, Democrats will continue our work to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 40 percent over next 15 years. Democrats know that to get serious about keeping America competitive and safe, we need to create reliable domestic sources of alternative energy. Weeks ago, we asked the president for an open and transparent bipartisan energy summit with stakeholders to talk about how to move our nation forward. I hope the president will take us up on that offer very soon.”

“For eight months, I have been asking for consideration of my legislation, the Federal Response to Energy Emergencies Act, which is designed to crack down on gas price gouging. For eight months, Republicans in Congress have stonewalled,” said Congressman Stupack. “Up until today, Republicans have simply put forth shallow imitations of Democratic ideas and returned to their old standby: drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The simple fact is this: as gas prices climb, Republicans have been shamed into having to do something, but they are still are out of ideas.”

Said Congressman Clyburn, “The Bush administration and the Republican ‘Rubber Stamp’ Congress invited lobbyists and CEOs from big energy companies into the people’s house and handed them a pen to draft the nation’s energy policy-a gift to the people that got them there. More than five years later, Americans are suffering the consequences of having two oilmen in the White House and a ‘Do Nothing Rubber Stamp’ Congress. Democrats have an energy plan for the future that powers our cars, our homes, and our economy on biofuel energy grown by America’s farmers, not oil imported from foreign lands.”

The Democrats also released a comprehensive new report on Administration energy policies, entitled “For and By Big Oil: A Special House and Senate Democratic Report.” For years, Republicans have responded to America’s energy needs by selling out to Big Oil. Now gas prices are sky high, oil companies are making obscene profits, and it’s time for a change. Democrats have offered real plans to lower gas prices today, and to make America energy independent.

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