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Public Statements

Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, what we are seeing in the Senate this week is exhibit A in what the American people just don't like about Congress. Gas prices have more than doubled under President Obama and the Democratic control of the Senate. This is an issue that affects every single American and drives up the cost of everything from commuting to groceries.

What is the Democratic response? Well, it is legislation that even they admit won't do a thing to lower the price of gas at the pump. We have seven Democratic Senators on record saying this bill doesn't do a thing to lower gas prices. One of them has actually called it laughable. Yet that is what they are proposing here this week at a time when gas prices are at a national average of nearly $4 a gallon. This is what passes for a response to high gas prices for Washington Democrats--a bill that does nothing about it. I cannot think of a better way to illustrate how totally out of touch and irresponsible the Democratic majority has become.

Look, Democrats know they have to say something about this issue, so what they are doing is taking a page out of the President's playbook and blaming somebody else. That is what this entire exercise is about--blaming somebody else--and, frankly, the American people are tired of it.

If Democrats don't want to do anything to lower gas prices, just go ahead and admit it. If Senate Democrats don't have any interest in lowering gas prices, then just say so, but don't waste the public's time by using the Senate floor to talk up a piece of legislation the only purpose of which is to convince people that you do. If the President doesn't want the Keystone Pipeline, why doesn't he just admit it? But don't insult the public by showing up for a ribbon cutting--for one part of it that you had nothing to do with while lobbying against the most important part at the same time.

Americans are tired of the political games and double-talk on this issue. They are tired of the constant campaign. They sent us here to actually fix problems, not to avoid them, and on this issue there is a lot we could be doing to make things a whole lot better. So Republicans are happy to use this opportunity to talk about some of those things. Who knows. Maybe more Democrats will decide it is long past time they joined us in actually supporting and approving some of these proposals. But we are never going to solve the problems we face if Democrats insist on using the Senate to make some political point instead of actually making a difference in the lives of working Americans at a moment of urgency like this. And we are certainly not going to make a difference if we keep sort of flitting from one issue to another.

We are now hearing that the Democrats want to move off this tax-hike legislation--maybe it didn't make the intended political point as forcefully as they wanted--to move on to postal reform. Evidently, the Senate schedule is driven not by the needs of the public but by the Democrats' perceived political needs, which seem to change from minute to minute around here.

I would suggest that the Democrats learn to prioritize. Let's stick with one thing and actually do something. As I said, there is much we could do to address gas prices. Why don't we stick with that? This is something that matters to every American. Postal reform is important, but we all know nothing is going to get done on it until after we return from the Easter recess anyway. Let's make that the pending business when we return and put first things first.

We were sent here to solve problems, not avoid them, and the refusal to come together on commonsense solutions such as the ones we are proposing on gas prices is precisely the kind of thing people detest about Washington, and they are perfectly right to do so. So I would suggest that our friends on the other side rethink this strategy of theirs and join us. Why don't we just try doing the right thing.

I yield the floor.

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