March 8, 2011

Obama's energy policy under attack by GOP

Republicans are tapping into Americans’ growing anxiety over rising oil and gas prices to step up attacks on President Barack Obama’s energy policies.

This week, they’re taking to the Senate floor, issuing news releases and chatting up constituents back home to make clear that the recent spike in gasoline prices could be lessened by lowering taxes and easing restrictions on domestic drilling.

“Isn’t it a little foolish to have our economy held hostage by events in Libya , North Africa generally, or the Persian Gulf area?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on the Senate floor Monday night, citing foreign oil-producing regions now afflicted by political turmoil.

“The Obama administration needs to put an end to the existing policy of a de facto moratorium through permitting.”

On Tuesday morning, Senate Republicans will blast a news release hitting Energy Secretary Steven Chu for saying in 2008 that the U.S. needs “to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe,” where a gallon now tops $7.

On average, Americans today are paying $3.51 a gallon, about 80 cents higher than they were a year ago, Grassley said.

The pain at the pump is bad for Americans’ pocketbooks and the economic recovery, said GOP Sen. John Barrasso, who just returned from speaking to constituents in his home state of Wyoming.

“It impacts our competitiveness. Every additional penny that gas prices go up is money that can’t be spent in other parts of the economy. It’s bad for the overall economy,” Barrasso told POLITICO Monday night. “The policies of the administration are at the root of the problem. We want to find more [oil], and under this administration we’ve been finding less.”

“We need to be exploring off-shore, on federal land and in Alaska,” he added, “but the administration’s practices are the exact opposite.”


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