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Public Statements

Energy Policy

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I want to associate myself with the remarks of the Senator from South Dakota and follow up in that regard.

Yesterday I came to the Senate floor and explained how the President's ideological outlook and the policies that have grown out of it will only continue to drive up the cost of gasoline at the pump. After I spoke, the President's Energy Secretary seemed to confirm it when he told a congressional panel that the Department of Energy isn't working to drive down the price of gas. They are working to wean us off of it altogether, and high gas prices add urgency to those efforts.

In other words, high gas prices actually help the administration achieve what it is trying to achieve. What I suggested yesterday and what I am suggesting again this morning is that we look at statements such as this and many others from the President and some of his top advisers in the past, along with the President's actual policies when it comes to assessing the current situation at the pump--not the speeches he gives when he starts feeling the political heat for it because he can't have it both ways.

Once again, here are the facts. The President continues to limit off-shore areas to energy production and is granting fewer leases on public land for oil drilling. At the same time, he has encouraged other countries such as Brazil to move forward with their off-shore drilling projects. The Obama administration continues to impose burdensome regulations on the domestic energy sector that will further drive up the cost of gasoline for the consumer. He is proposing raising taxes on the energy sector, a move that the Congressional Research Service has said would drive up costs.

As we all know, he flatly rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, a potentially game-changing domestic energy project that promises not only greater independence from Middle Eastern oil but tens of thousands of private sector jobs.

All of these policies help drive up the cost of gasoline and increase our dependence on foreign sources of oil, but perhaps none is as emblematic of the President's simplistic and punitive approach to energy policy as the last one. The President simply cannot claim to support a comprehensive approach to energy while at the same time standing in the way of the Keystone Pipeline. It doesn't make any sense. It is either one or the other.

Most Americans understand that. That is why many of us were pleased when the company that is responsible for building Keystone said it plans to move forward with the southern portion of the pipeline, despite the administration's decision to block the northern portion to alleviate a bottleneck in Cushing, OK. They are just not going to let this administration punish them or the rest of those who want to build this pipeline.

Asked about the impact of delays, the company's President and CEO said they were partly to blame for the recent spike in gas prices, which is presumably why the White House came out in support of the move. But the hypocrisy is quite stunning.

How could a White House that is single-handedly blocking one-half of the pipeline to appease an extreme segment of its political base now claim to support the southern half of the same pipeline?

Well, the short answer is they don't have the authority to block the southern half, so they think that by claiming to support it, then they can get credit from people for being on both sides of the issue. But if Keystone is good for America and good for jobs, the President should just come out and support the whole pipeline. With gas prices literally skyrocketing and growing turmoil in the Middle East, we can't afford another year of foot-dragging. It is time for the President to move quickly to approve the entire Keystone XL Pipeline. This is literally a no-brainer.

An overwhelming majority of Americans support the Keystone XL Pipeline in its entirety. The President should listen to them. Instead of lecturing the American people about his idea of fairness, he should spend a little more time thinking about what most Americans think is fair. Most Americans don't think it is particularly fair that the President of the United States is blocking them from tapping into our natural resources even as he uses their tax dollars to prop up failing solar companies like Solyndra and to hand out bonuses to the executives who drive them literally into the ground. Most Americans don't think it is fair that their President would want to drive up the cost of gasoline they need to get around every day and build their families and their businesses and their lives even as he is directing more and more of their money to risky solar schemes in his own administration--risky solar schemes his own administration says sometimes fail.

Well, the American people don't ask for much, but they do expect to be able to go out there every day and try to build a future for themselves and their families without their own President throwing sand in the gears. And whether it is high gas prices or government regulations or higher debt, the American people are tired of bearing the burden so this President can build an economy in which Washington calls all the shots. Yes, Americans want lower gas prices, and, yes, this President's policies are hurting. But let's be clear about something: This debate is not just about gas prices, it is about a President who wants to impose a definition of ``fairness'' on the American people, yet most of them simply do not accept.

I yield the floor.


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