Senate Democrats

Reid Calls on Bush to Deliver on His Promise to ‘Jawbone’ OPEC

Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement in response to the President’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah:

“When it comes to energy, the American people are still waiting for President Bush to keep his promises. Over five years ago, he pledged to ‘jawbone’ OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia to bring down the price of gas. As Americans continue to pay dearly at the pump, today’s meeting with the Saudi Prince would be a good time for the President to start delivering on this pledge.

“And following the meeting, I hope President Bush will join Senate Democrats in finding real solutions to America’s energy crisis. It is in our economic interest, our security interest and our national interest to recognize the energy challenges before us and work together towards energy independence.”

Bush Claims High Gas Prices are Out of His Control. Bush: “I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow. I’d do that. Unfortunately, however, gas prices are a problem that has been years in the making.” [Remarks to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Marketplace, 4/20/05]

Yet Candidate Bush Called on Clinton to “Jawbone OPEC” to “Open the Spigots.” Bush on how to handle OPEC: “What I think the president ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up. OPEC has gotten its supply act together, and it’s driving the price, like it did in the past. And the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price.” [The New York Times, 9/29/00; George Bush, Republican Primary Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/26/00]

Bush Continues to Send Oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is already 98 percent full. With consumer paying record gas prices, the Bush Administration has continued to adhere to its policy of taking oil off the market and placing it in the SPR. The Administration should defer deliveries to the SPR until oil markets stabilize and gasoline prices decline. [Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy]

Bush’s Energy Plan Will Have No Effect on Prices. “Question: How will it lead to lower prices at the gas pump now? THE PRESIDENT: Because we recognize that we need more supply. And when you read the report, you’ll see that we’ve laid out constructive ways to make sure that there are more supply available.” But, the Bush Administration’s own Energy Information Administration found that the effect of the bill would be “negligible” with respect to production, consumption, imports, and energy prices. [Remarks by the President on National Energy Policy, 5/16/01; EIA, “Summary Impacts of Modeled Provisions of the 2003 Conference Energy Bill” 2/04]