With the threat of gas prices topping $4 this summer looming, Republicans today took to the Senate floor for coordinated back-to-back speeches blasting the Obama administration's approach to lower gas prices.
The attacks made light of President Obama's speech last Thursday at the University of Miami on energy security where he spoke, among other proposals, about new investments in the development of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel that's made from the plantlike substance algae.
"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," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "Algae as a substitute for gas. And then dusting off the same talking points Democrats have been using for decades, he claimed that 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."
When Americans are suffering with high gas prices, McConnell says, President Obama's solutions are "out of touch."
"I think the American people realize that a president who's out there talking about algae - algae - when we're having to choose between whether to buy groceries or fill up the tank is the one who is out of touch," McConnell said. "We need to increase oil production right here at home, not simply rely on pipe dreams - pipe dreams - like algae or by wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on more failed clean energy projects like Solyndra, especially, especially at a time when we're running trillion-dollar deficits."
Republicans blame the president for rejecting the Keystone XL oil Pipeline - what they call a "potentially game-changing domestic energy project." 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.
"What the president does favor is the Saudis increasing oil production and increased use of solar, wind and algae here at home. Mr. President, does that really substitute for an energy policy?" Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas said. "Last week, the president said we cannot drill our way to lower gas prices. This statement is inaccurate. Increased domestic production will go a long way towards stabilizing gas prices. Why does this president want to turn his back on critical sources of domestic energy which seem incomprehensible to anyone looking at this issue?"
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said it is "time for Congress to act," in light of gas prices rising from $1.85 per gallon when President Obama took office to the current $3.72 per gallon.
"They're saying an all-of-the-above strategy but they're not doing it," Hoeven said. "And not only are they not doing it, they're actually blocking oil and gas development in our country and they're blocking our ability to get oil from our closest ally, Canada."
Today's attack from Senate Republicans matches the House Republicans' messaging this morning, as Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH., pressed President Obama for details for a comprehensive energy plan.