Senate Democrats

Democratic Senators, Advocacy Groups Hold Press Conference To Discuss Energy Crisis

Washington, DC—Democratic Senators Richard Durbin, Patty Murray and Byron Dorgan held a press conference today with a broad coalition of labor, environmental and citizens’ advocacy groups to discuss the Consumer First Energy Act of 2008.  As gas prices continue to break record highs, Democrats are working to reverse seven years of the Bush Administration’s oil-friendly economic policies, address the root causes of high energy prices and make the American Dream affordable again for millions of middle-class Americans. 

“Oil prices are at an all-time high, and gas prices are now averaging over $4 per gallon,” Durbin said.  “People are hurting.  What’s the Bush-Republican response? Do nothing.  Democrats are ready for solutions.  But it remains to be seen how many of our GOP colleagues will put people before partisanship and join us.”

Said Murray: “Democrats have been fighting for policies that will help cut gas prices, create jobs, and keep our air and water clean – and our nation secure. We’re committed to taking strong action that will stop rewarding oil companies – and that will start looking out for American families. If Republicans want to help their constituents – if they want to take action that will help stop the pain at the pump – the solution is simple: They just need to join us by voting yes.”

“There is an orgy of speculation in the energy futures market, which is driving up the cost of oil and the price of gasoline,” Dorgan said.  “While these speculators are making record profits, our economy suffers and American families struggle to pay rising energy costs.  It is time to stand up for the American people and put a stop to this rampant speculation.”

Said Richard Fiesta, Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance for Retired Americans: “Seniors are being hit twice by high energy prices.  Not only are they seeing more of their own fixed incomes paying for gasoline and cooling and heating, they are seeing services like a home delivered meal or a ride to the doctor severely cut back due to profiteers manipulating markets.  It’s time to put a stop to this greed.”

“The Sierra Club was thrilled with this legislation when it was introduced and with gas prices topping $4 a gallon, the need to pass it has become considerably more urgent,” said Debbie Sease, National Campaign Director for the Sierra Club.  “Hardworking American families are suffering and the economy is buckling under the weight of back-breaking—and ever-growing—energy costs.  This is a sensible plan that promises consumers real relief and will help put us on the path toward a clean energy future by ending the oil industry’s chokehold on our economy.”

Said Gerron Levi of the AFL-CIO:  “As AFL-CIO working families take to the streets this week to rally at gas stations in more than 25 cities, we want to applaud the leadership of Democrats in the Senate for continuing the worthy fight on behalf of working people around the country already battered by the housing crisis, rising food and other costs, stagnating wages and mounting personal debt.  The Consumer-First Energy Act takes the fight to the oil companies who have racked up billions in windfall profits, oil speculators who have further driven up energy prices and price gougers who are showing a reckless disregard for the crisis facing working families.”