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Public Statements

Energy Policy

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, over the past few weeks, the American people have begun to feel the painful effects of President Obama's energy policy.

Make no mistake, the rising price of gasoline isn't simply the result of forces we can't control. It is, to a large extent, the result of a vision this President laid out even before he was elected to office. That vision was on clear display just last week.

As millions of Americans groaned at the rising cost of a gallon of gasoline, the President took to the microphones to talk about a far-off day when Americans might be able to use algae as a substitute for gas. Then, dusting off the same talking points Democrats have been using for decades, he claimed there is no short-term solution to the problem.

In other words, he kicked the can down the road for another day, another time, abdicating leadership on yet another issue of national significance.

This morning, I think it is worthwhile to take a step back from the rhetoric and look at what this President has actually done about this problem and what his energy policies would mean for the future because, according to numerous private and public energy experts, gas prices are only going to keep rising in the weeks and months ahead, going up and up. Some say the average price for a gallon of gasoline could hit $4 by late spring, early summer, and could reach $5 or even $6 in some areas of our country. When that moment comes, Americans should know what the administration had to do with it.

For starters, let's not forget that as a candidate the President himself said he preferred what he called a ``gradual adjustment'' to gas prices--in other words, higher prices that went up slowly so people did not feel the pinch quite as acutely. Let's also recall that after his election the President chose an Energy Secretary who said he wanted gas prices more in line with those over in Europe, where folks pay about $8 a gallon for gas. That is what they pay for gas over in Europe, where the Energy Secretary said we should be looking to establish gas prices. Let's not forget that the President chose as Interior Secretary a man who, as a U.S. Senator, objected to increased oil and gas drilling here at home even if the price of gas exceeded $10 a gallon--right here on the Senate floor. So no one should be surprised at the fact that we are well on the road to European gas prices when the President and the two Cabinet officials he chose to deal with the issue are all on record supporting them.

Let's be honest, the only problem the President sees in all of this is the political blowback he is getting for it, and that is why last week he gave another speech--this time to absolve himself from any of the blame for high gas prices even as he sought to take credit for the actions of the private sector and that his predecessors took to increase energy production here at home.

It is kind of interesting--the President seems to blame his predecessor on a weekly basis for the problems we face today, but when he finds something he likes, he doesn't commend him but claims it as an achievement for himself. Yes, oil production is at an alltime high in this country, thanks to the decisions that were made before this President took office.

But let's be very clear about something: The actions of this President are driving down oil production, and here is how. This President continues to limit offshore areas of energy production and is granting fewer leases to public land for oil drilling. His administration is imposing regulations that will further drive up the cost of gasoline for the consumer. He wants to raise taxes on oil and gas--a proposal the Congressional Research Service tells us will increase the price of oil and gas and, by the way, send jobs overseas. And he alone rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline--a potentially game-changing domestic energy project that promises not only energy independence from Middle Eastern oil but tens of thousands of private sector jobs.

The President has done all of those things, all the while claiming there are not any silver bullets. The fact is this President's policies are designed and intended to drive up energy prices, reduce domestic oil production, increase our demand on foreign sources of oil, and drive high-paying American jobs overseas. Those are the direct results of the policies of this administration. So forget the rhetoric; that is this President's record. It is in perfect keeping with the vision he set out at the beginning of his administration. This President will go to any length to drive up gas prices and pave the way for his ideological agenda. That is this President's notion of fairness, that struggling Americans pay more at the pump while their tax dollars go to prop up solar companies like Solyndra and the executives who run them into the ground.

I do not think it is particularly fair--speaking of fairness--for people who are out there trying to scrape a living together to subsidize bonuses for folks who would not even have a business without a taxpayer handout. That is not my definition of fairness, but that is the economy this President wants. That is what his policies lead to. That is his vision. So, in my view, reversing this President's wrongheaded energy policies is the silver bullet.

Look, the President can taunt his critics for suggesting that we actually use the resources we have, but I think the American people realize that a President who is out there talking about algae when they are having to choose between whether to buy groceries or fill up the tank is the one who is out of touch. Americans get this issue. They understand it fully. They get that we need to increase oil production right here at home, not simply by relying on pipedreams--pipedreams like algae--or by wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on more failed clean energy projects like Solyndra, especially at a time when we are running trillion-dollar deficits. We cannot afford it.

It is time for the President to join with Republicans and put American energy and economic security ahead of his own ideological agenda.

I yield the floor.

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