Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate:
“Our Republican colleagues think they’ve found a winner. They think that with Americans from coast to coast facing $4.00, $4.15, $4.25, even $4.50 gas prices, they can score some easy political points off our energy crisis.
“They say that all we need to do is open up our coasts for the oil companies to drill and gas prices will go down. They say that the energy crisis is so important that the Senate should stay on the issue and do nothing else until it is solved.
“But we all know that actions speak louder than words. And the Republican rhetoric has no basis in reality.
“Senate Republicans have had numerous opportunities to work with us to lower gas prices. In fact, Democrats have proposed plans to lower gas prices six times in just the past few weeks. Six times, Republicans have blocked us. What has happened over those weeks? Gas prices have broken one record after another.
- Democrats proposed legislation to extend tax credits for innovators who are researching and producing clean, renewable energy to decrease our consumption of oil. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed legislation to roll back tax breaks on the oil companies who are making record profits while we pay record prices – and invest that money in renewable energy. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed a cap-and-trade system that would address global warming and provide billions of dollars for alternative energy. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed legislation to protect consumers from price gouging of already record-high prices. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed a renewable electricity standard, which would have saved consumers billions of dollars through energy savings. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed legislation to go after OPEC for collusion and price-fixing. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed legislation that would curb the excessive speculation of Wall Street oil traders who artificially bid up the price that we pay at the pump. Republicans said no.
- Democrats proposed improvements to the LIHEAP program which helps senior citizens and the disabled with assistance to pay the cost of heating and cooling their homes. Republicans said no.
“Democrats even offered Republicans the one thing they’ve been talking about: a vote on drilling. Did Republicans take our offer of exactly what they claim to want? No. Once again, Republicans said no.
“The game they seem to be playing is this: make the American people think that they are willing to grind the Senate to a halt to deal with gas prices. But the American people can see the record: Democrats have offered a comprehensive set of solutions for the short- and long-term.
“Republicans have offered nothing but talk. They have talked about more drilling. What they don’t say is that their drilling bill wouldn’t put a drop of oil into the marketplace for at least 13 years. Even the Republican nominee for President, Senator McCain, has called the Republican drilling plan purely psychological.
“Democrats believe in increased domestic production through responsible drilling. But the American people deserve solutions a lot quicker than 13 years from now. And if Republicans truly believed that their drilling legislation would solve the problem – why would they say no to our offer to vote on it? It doesn’t add up.
“But fortunately, the American people can see exactly what is going on here. While Republicans keep talking, Democrats are trying to address this critical problem that the American people are facing every day. Republican strategists have called this disingenuous Republican strategy a ‘Hail Mary’ for the fall elections.
“Perhaps the two-year Republican strategy of nonstop delay, obstruction and slow-walking has put them in such electoral peril that a Hail Mary is all they have left. But their strategy is bad for the American people, and I have no doubt that the American people will see what they are trying to do and overwhelmingly reject it.”