Before ending his news conference this morning at the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner vented his frustrations over record gasoline prices, calling on the president to present his own written proposal for an energy plan and blaming "radical environmentalists" for standing in the way of a national energy policy.
"Americans understand that we can produce more of our own energy and they don't understand why 35 years since the oil embargo of 1974 that we've never had a national energy policy," Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "We've got a handful of environmental groups - radical environmental groups who have stood in the way of having a national energy policy all of these years, and it's just about damn time that we actually have a national energy policy and do something the American people want us to do! Enough of this!"
The speaker then ended his news conference, charging past a scrum of reporters, ignoring a question about the 2012 campaign.
"Get out of here!" Boehner boomed. "Baaah!"
Before the outburst, Boehner noted that American families and small businesses are struggling with the rising price of gas, and he pressed the president to present details for a comprehensive energy plan and urged Senate Democrats to consider some of the bills House Republicans have passed to provide relief to the economy.
"We've never seen gasoline prices at this level at this time of the year before and Republicans, as part of our Plan for American Job Creators, have a number of bills that we've passed with bipartisan support and [we've] sent them over to the United States Senate," the speaker said. "The president says he's for an 'all-of-the-above' energy plan. Has anyone seen it? I have not seen it."
"The president blocked the Keystone pipeline, he's blocked efforts to expand energy production in the Intermountain West, over in the Gulf [of Mexico], and in a small portion of Alaska," he continued. "If the president's serious about working with us to expand energy production in America and to deal with the rising oil prices, it's time for him to lay his cards on the table."
A gasoline price survey released Monday finds that the average paid by U.S. drivers for a gallon of regular nationwide is $3.72.
Boehner said that supply and demand drive the price of gasoline, and turmoil in the Middle East is adding to anxiety on Wall Street, further driving up the price of gas. He also blamed higher gas prices on regulations imposed by the Obama administration.
"People are concerned about whether that flow of oil is going to continue," he said. "When you look at demand, we're moving into the summer driving season and the EPA requires 30 different blends of gasoline to be produced for the summer months in most of the country, and then to try to produce those 30 different blends and then ship them puts an awful lot of demand on the system. As a result, you've got much higher prices."
Republicans blame the president for rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline. Monday, TransCanada - the company applying to build the international project, announced it would proceed with a southern portion of the pipeline immediately, while re-submitting its application for the part the Obama administration has refused to approve.
Boehner predicted that prices will not come down until America proves that "we're going to move toward energy self-sufficiency."
"We need the entire Keystone pipeline to be approved by this White House, and the fact that they're trying to move forward on a section from Oklahoma to Texas, is a positive first step," Boehner said. "But if we're serious about this, where are the big deposits of oil? They're in the tar sands up in Canada and they're in the bottom of an oil field in North Dakota."
"There's no reason why the Keystone Pipeline shouldn't be built in its entirety," he added.