"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

“Democrats And The White House Are Feeling The Heat Over Rising Gas Prices”‏

March 13th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Today is one of the occasional days when headlines can tell much of the story. The Hill writes, “Gas prices trigger Obama scramble,” Roll Call has “Democrats Playing Defense on Energy,” USA Today reports, “Obama: People will blame me for gas prices,” NBC’s First Read features, “White House plays defense on gas prices,” and the AP underscores it all with, “AAA: Ohio gas prices rise for 4th straight week.”

According to the USA Today piece, “Rising gas prices are hurting President Obama, and he knows it. ‘Well, look, as long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I’m not doing enough,’ President Obama told WFTV of Orlando, one of a string of television interviews he did Monday to promote his energy policy. ‘And I understand that,’ Obama added, ‘because people get hurt when they’re going to that gas station and seeing those prices rise everyday.’ Obama’s approval ratings are falling in the face of higher gas prices. He is down to 41% in one survey, the New York Times/CBS News poll.

Politico adds, “The White House on Monday launched an all-of-the-above press strategy designed to contain the damage from high gas prices. Thus far, the administration’s message hasn’t worked: According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll published Monday, 65 percent of Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama is dealing with high gas prices. Obama attempted to counteract that by sitting down for several local TV news interviews on Monday, including visits with anchors from the electoral battlegrounds of Cincinnati, Denver, Des Moines, Las Vegas, Orlando and Pittsburgh.”

Roll Call reports that the Obama White House and Democrats in the Senate have decided they want to do something about rising gas prices: raise taxes on American energy producers. “Senate Democrats and the White House are feeling the heat over rising gas prices and are preparing a legislative response to blunt GOP criticism. After coordinating with the White House, Senate Democrats expect to consider, likely before the end of the month, legislation that would repeal tax breaks for oil and gas companies, a senior Senate Democratic aide said. . . . Republicans, who see a political opportunity in the gas price issue, contend that raising taxes on energy companies would simply lead to even higher gas prices. . . . A senior GOP aide also noted that the Senate last voted on a similar measure in May. The proposal — which would have eliminated a raft of tax breaks for the five largest oil companies — failed to win the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle to move forward.”

Democrats have trotted out this tired proposal every time gas prices go up, yet they never seem to be able to explain how making it more expensive to produce energy in the United States is supposed to help lower gas prices.

Roll Call notes, “The energy debate will continue Tuesday when the Senate will vote on a Republican amendment to a transportation bill . . . which includes a provision to approve the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline. The proposal is being offered by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) . . . . Republicans see the approval of Keystone as imperative to creating jobs, increasing energy production and helping reduce gas prices. They argue that Democrats should get behind the proposal’s approval instead of looking to raise taxes on energy companies. ‘Instead of returning again and again to tax hikes that increase consumers’ costs, the administration and its Democrat allies in Congress should open their eyes to the opportunity presented by the Keystone XL pipeline,’ McConnell said in the statement.”

If Democrats and President Obama are really concerned about high gas prices, their responses to this problem that affects every American family are strangely disconnected. Democrats are proposing, yet again, to raise taxes on American energy companies and last week voted down a Republican amendment that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, thanks in part to the personal lobbying of President Obama. How are raising taxes and blocking jobs and secure energy supplies supposed to help lower the price at the pump?

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Hat tip: Heritage Foundation

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