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Rep. Cory Gardner on Energy and Gas Prices

In the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, says that Americans are fed up with President Obama’s failure to tackle rising gas prices, but there’s still time for him to do the right thing and urge the Democratic-run Senate to act on bipartisan, House-passed energy bills.  This weekly address continues a coordinated Republican offensive to stress the need for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy and hold the president accountable for policies that have contributed to higher gas prices. 

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Driving around the district these days, the first, and often times only, thing my constituents want to talk about is the pain at the pump.  In our state, gas prices have gone up 40 cents a gallon in just one month.  This hurts everyone … families, commuters, job seekers, and especially small business owners.  It isn’t just American dollars at risk with high gas prices – it’s American jobs, too.

People in my district and around the country are fed up with the way the president is handling this issue, and rightfully so.  The most forceful thing the president has done about high gas prices is try to explain that he’s against them.  Americans are right to expect more from their leaders.

To be fair, there have been signs of hope.  Last month, the president told leaders in Congress he would be willing to work with Republicans on an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy.  That was encouraging.  Republicans have long supported an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to develop our own resources – both traditional and renewable – so we can lower costs and improve America’s energy security. 

From day one, however, the Obama administration has consistently slowed or shut down domestic energy production.  There’s actually less acreage offshore open for energy production now than there was when the president took office.  Instead of increasing American energy independence , the president’s first major energy initiative was a national energy tax that, according to him, would cause rates to ‘skyrocket.’  He also plowed ‘stimulus’ dollars into crony capital company Solyndra that has since gone bankrupt taking half a billion of taxpayer dollars with it.  After spending money we don’t have on what won’t work – and overregulating what would – is it any wonder gas prices have more than doubled on the president’s watch?   Make no mistake, high gas prices are a symptom of his failed ‘stimulus’ policies.

That’s why it was good to hear that the president indicated he’d be willing to work with Republicans on energy.  In the meantime, the House has continued to pass ‘all-of-the-above’ energy initiatives as part of Republicans’ Plan for America’s Job Creators.  Right now, there are at least seven bipartisan, House-passed energy bills sitting in the Democratic Senate, waiting on a vote. 

Unfortunately, the president has yet to follow through and urge the Senate to act.  He’s just carried on with more of the same.

He’s called for raising energy taxes, which the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says would actually lead to higher prices.

He’s asked the Attorney General to ‘reconstitute’ an oil speculation task force that has never reported its work to the public.

He quietly pushed members of Congress to prevent construction of the Keystone pipeline - despite overwhelming support for the project and the jobs that it would create - and his lobbying may have made the difference in the vote.

And just this week, his administration pressed the Saudis to produce more oil, even as it works to close off more production here at home. 

No, government alone cannot work wonders, but America’s entrepreneurs and job creators, given freedom and opportunity, can.  It’s up to us in Washington to remove costly, artificial barriers that stand in their way.  The longer we let politicians like President Obama continue to block responsible American energy production, the longer our nation will continue to suffer with high gas prices and limited energy security.  

There’s still time for the president to do the right thing and urge the Democratic-controlled Senate to act on bipartisan, House-passed energy bills.  Let’s seize this moment, expand freedom instead of government, and secure our energy future once and for all.

“Thank you and God bless the United States of America.”