Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, the rising cost of gasoline has become a major source of concern for most Americans. With prices in most States moving closer and closer to $4 a gallon, and already higher in some areas, America has a right to know where the President and Democrats in Congress stand on the issue.
Let me begin this morning with a simple observation that it is no accident gas prices are skyrocketing at a time when Democrats control two-thirds of official Washington. It is no secret Democratic leaders in Washington do not particularly care for this issue. Ask them about gas prices and chances are they will tell you about some car they plan to build and have ready for production about 25 years down the road. Suggest we tap some of our domestic sources of oil and they will give you 101 reasons we cannot and how that is not a real solution anyway because it will take too long to get it out of the ground.
We have been having that particular argument for decades now--literally for decades. Then they have the audacity to step in front of the cameras and tell us they are all for reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil. With what--windmills?
It is time to be serious about a serious problem. The fact is, there is no reason in the world we cannot invest in future technologies at the same time we are tapping into the resources we already have right here at home and creating jobs while we do it. But Democrats do not seem to like that idea. They would rather force a change in behavior now than giving struggling American families the relief they need from the rising gas prices.
Do not listen to what they say on the issue, watch what they do. Here is what they have done.
Over the past 2 years, the Obama administration has delayed, revoked, suspended, or canceled an enormous range of development opportunities.
One month after the President took office, his administration canceled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah. Once the review was complete, the administration refused to reinstate even a single one.
A month after that, the administration shortened lease terms for offshore oil and gas production and raised fees for permit applications.
Last January, it announced new restrictions for onshore oil and gas exploration in the mountain West.
Last February, it denied a permit to build a bridge needed to access an oil-producing field in Alaska, after the Environmental Protection Agency designated a nearby river an aquatic resource of national importance.
Last April, the administration suspended 61 oil and gas leases in Montana that were issued in 2008 and then announced that all oil and gas leases in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota would be delayed indefinitely.
Last May, the President announced a 6-month moratorium on deepwater drilling--a moratorium that has been repeatedly struck down in the courts.
The list of actions such as these go on and on, and that is to say nothing of the proposed new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on energy that would either cause oil refineries to pass along their resulting new production costs to consumers at the pump or drive them and their jobs overseas.
Let there be no doubt, the efforts of the White House are costing jobs and putting even more pressure on gas prices. Paying lipservice to the public's concerns will not solve the problem. Unlocking our own sources of energy at home would help immensely.
Just to give an idea of the kind of resources we have right here at home, consider that just one 2,000-acre section of the nonwilderness sections of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, along with the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, have enough recoverable oil to replace crude imports from the Persian Gulf for nearly 65 years--65 years.
The problem is not that we need to look elsewhere for energy. The problem is that Democrats in Washington will not let us use it. The problem is that even with gas prices on the rise, they want to tax it even more.
Let's make this simple. I am going to propose just two concrete practical things we can do in Washington to give the American people some relief, create jobs, and help us be less dependent on foreign sources of oil, two ideas that would have wide bipartisan support. Let's increase American energy production, and let's block any new regulations that will drive up the production costs for energy. These are two ideas that will create jobs and alleviate the increasing pressure on gas prices.
Let's leave the ideology aside and do some practical good for Americans who are struggling out there. Let's increase American production of energy with American jobs and stop the job-stifling regulations.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.