Ahead of Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip to the Middle East Democratic Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote him a letter asking him to negotiate with OPEC to reduce oil prices. “The price of a barrel of oil has surged to new historic highs each day, even when adjusted for inflation, and the price at the gas pump is projected to do the same in the coming months. Light sweet crude oil surpassed $110 a barrel today, a 407 percent increase since President Bush took office. Gas prices have reached record levels of $3.27 a gallon and the oil imported from foreign countries has grown to 60 percent of our total since President Bush took office. These prices and our growing dependence on foreign oil have caused great hardship for American families and businesses struggling to make ends meet in this economic downturn,” Pelosi wrote.
Pelosi then asked Cheney to negotiate with OPEC to reduce crude oil prices. “Your upcoming trip to the Middle East provides an opportunity for you, on behalf of the Bush Administration, to call upon your considerable influence with OPEC nations to encourage oil producing countries to increase their oil production. President Bush has endorsed the idea of an American President “jawboning” oil producing states to expand production when rising prices jeopardized economic stability. This must be another critical step as part of a comprehensive plan here at home to lower energy costs for the American consumer, increase energy independence, and enhance our national security.”
Pelosi wrote about the need to end federal subsidies for the five largest U.S. oil companies. “The House of Representatives has again passed legislation to significantly expand our renewable American energy industry in a fiscally responsible way, paid for by ending taxpayer subsidies to the five largest oil companies which are earning record profits. This legislation is pending in the Senate. These subsidies cannot be condoned at today’s historically high oil prices.” The odds of Dick Cheney meeting with OPEC to negotiate a reduction in profits are slim to none.
What you have to keep in mind is that the Bush administration sees nothing wrong with the high price of oil. How else would you expect an administration that is personally linked to the industry to feel? In the Bush/Cheney view the current price of oil is simply the market at work. Demand is greater than supply, so the price is high. The problem is that this administration has done nothing except talk about alternative energy. Funding has not followed. Pelosi does bring up good points in her letter, and hopefully our next president will share her ideas and attitudes on the importance of energy independence.