McConnell accuses Obama of driving up gas prices

March 16, 2011 06:48


“Fourteen million Americans are looking for work. Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon. And the Obama administration wants unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats to impose new regulations that will destroy even more jobs – and drive gas prices even higher.”

By Sen. Mitch McConnell

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced an amendment Tuesday to the pending small business bill that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s back-door national energy tax from taking effect.

“Imposing a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices,” McConnell said. “Fourteen million Americans are looking for work. Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon. And the Obama administration wants unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats to impose new regulations that will destroy even more jobs – and drive gas prices even higher.”

McConnell’s amendment was originally introduced as a stand-alone bill by Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee. That bill has 43 co-sponsors including one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. In addition to Inhofe, McConnell was joined by two other senators who have taken a leadership role in the issue – Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and John Barrasso, R-WY, Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference.

The unprecedented EPA regulations, designed to regulate carbon emissions from farmers, manufacturers and power plants, will lead to higher gasoline, grocery, electricity and natural gas prices, while stalling economic and job growth.

“These new regulations would destroy jobs at a time when Americans need them most,” McConnell said. “And they’d be especially devastating for states like Kentucky and other coal states.”

At a time of rising gas prices and growing concern about the scope of government, McConnell said his amendment would allow for a vote on whether the White House should be able to impose new energy regulations through the EPA.

“They’re attempting to do through regulation what they couldn’t do through legislation – regardless of whether the American people want it or not,” McConnell said. “This is an insult to the millions of Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet or find a job.”

The McConnell amendment is identical to a bill, sponsored by Reps. Fred Upton, R-MI, and Ed Whitfield, R-KY, that is being considered in the House Energy and Commerce Committee today.

Following is the text of McConnell’s remarks upon the introduction of his amendment:

With gas prices on the rise, Americans want to know what Washington is doing about it.

So let me provide a little update: the White House has responded by locking up domestic energy supplies and pushing an energy tax that will drive them up even higher. And Democrats in Congress aren’t doing anything at all.

So we’ve got a total disconnect right now among Democrats in Washington when it comes to gas prices. Both the White House and Democrats in Congress are acting like they haven’t seen a nightly newscast or driven by a gas station in weeks.

Senator Inhofe, Senator Murkowski, and Senator Barrasso have done a terrific job raising the alarm on the Administration’s efforts to lock up domestic energy even as it continues to push costly new regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency.

I want to commend them for their efforts on this most important and timely issue.

They’ve shown how American families are getting a double whammy right now.

Refiners would pass the costs related to these regulations onto consumers and the White House’s efforts to lock up domestic energy production puts even more pressure on gas prices.

If you’re just tuning in, let’s review what the White House has been up to on that front.

They’ve resisted our push for American production offshore, onshore and in Alaska — and the jobs that go along with it.

“They’ve cancelled existing drilling permits and the jobs that come with them.

They’ve needlessly delayed offshore leases — which even former President Clinton has referred to as ridiculous.

They’ve imposed a moratorium on oil and gas drilling — which amounts to a moratorium on domestic energy-related jobs.

They’ve proposed a tax on domestic energy production, a ‘minivan tax’.

And now they are trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA.

It’s a strange way to respond to rising gas prices.

But it’s perfectly consistent with the current energy secretary’s previously stated desire to get gas prices here in the U.S. up to where they are in Europe.

These new regulations would destroy jobs at a time when Americans need them most.

And they’d be especially devastating for states like Kentucky and other coal states.

EPA regulations resulting in dramatic energy price increases would jeopardize the livelihoods of the 18,000 miners in Kentucky and an additional 200,000 jobs that depend on coal production and the low cost of electricity that Kentuckians enjoy.

They’d raise the price of everything from electricity, gasoline, fertilizer, to the food we eat — and that’s why farmers, builders, manufacturers, small businesses, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose them, and support an effort to stop them.

But the White House is determined to get its way.

And that’s why they’re attempting to do through regulation what they couldn’t do through legislation — regardless of whether the American people want it or not.

And, in my view, it’s an insult to the millions of Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet or find a job.

Fourteen million Americans are looking for work. Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon. And the Obama Administration wants unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats to impose new regulations that will destroy even more jobs — and drive gas prices even higher.

If you want proof that common-sense is taking a backseat to ideology in the White House, look no further: this plan is bad for jobs. It’s bad for the economy.

And it must be stopped.

And that’s why, at the end of my remarks, I’m introducing an amendment to block it.

In an effort to prevent the administration from adding yet another burdensome, job-destroying regulation through the back door, we’ll have a vote on whether at a time of rising gas prices and growing concern about the scope of government, we should allow the White House to impose new energy regulations through the EPA.

This vote is needed because the White House appears ready to advance its goal by any means possible — regardless of our economy or the will of the people.

And that’s why it’s my hope that, we’ll vote to stop this power grab in its tracks.”



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