“This week, the price of oil and gasoline both hit new record highs – almost $120 for a barrel of oil and more than $3.50 a gallon for gas. These out-of-control prices mean that hundreds of thousands of Americans are driving to work and spending too much of their day just earning back the cost of their commute. The American people deserve to know why this happened,” Lautenberg said.
He blamed the Bush/Cheney energy policy, “When President Bush took office, gas prices were less than half of what they are today – and oil was less than one-third. Then, seven years ago, President Bush and Vice President Cheney secretly invited executives from the big oil and big energy companies to the White House to write our national energy policy. When we finally uncovered the truth, we discovered – to no surprise – that Big Oil helped write a law that guaranteed them billions and billions of dollars in tax giveaways while they set in motion disastrous economic and environmental policies that have served no one but themselves.”
Lautenberg called for the nation to change its priorities, “It’s long past time to change our national priorities. We know there’s little hope that President Bush will suddenly wake up and see the light. But unfortunately, his Republican allies in Congress continue to stand by his side, with the oil and energy companies – for the status quo and against the American people.”
He urged the American people to pressure Bush the GOP to break their friendship with the oil companies, “Republicans won’t break with the status quo easily. The grip of Big Oil and energy companies is strong. That’s why we need you to help us keep the pressure on President Bush and the Republicans who are intent on rewarding their oil friends while they stick the American people with the bill. The stakes are too high for that kind of cronyism and cynical politics. Democrats reject them. And together, I know we can solve this crisis.”
Whether Republicans like it or not, this is a powerful issue for Democrats in this fall’s election. Voters should ask themselves why Republicans oppose investigating gas prices, a tax on the oil companies’ record profits, and more funding for the development of alternative energy.
The energy industry gives millions to the Republican candidates, and the reality is that the GOP cares more about these donors than the financial pain that their preferential policies are causing average Americans. The Democrats don’t have enough votes in Congress to overcome Republican obstruction. The best way to ensure that gas prices remain high is to vote Republican this fall.
Full Transcript of Lautenberg Radio Address: