I am (a lot?) less hostile to the global warming people than a lot of other people both in the conservative blogosphere and on this blog. But it is clear that we should be the party that advocates for more energy of all sorts. You can't grow your economy if you cannot provide the wattage to run computers, offices, and factories. And you can't have a high standard of living without air conditioning, small electric gadgets, and cars to take you to exotic places. And those take energy.
Today, the Senate GOP leadership made the clearest statement I've seen from them on this subject in a while. They support abundant energy. Good for them.
Senator Mitch McConnell:
“The Democratic nominee for president says that he's not so troubled by $4 a gallon gas, but concerned about how quickly we got there. I think most Americans believe that $4 gas is too much, whether we got there quickly or slowly. The gas prices are too high.”
Senator Lamar Alexander
“So the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that we understand the law of supply and demand, and they don't. We're ready to find more oil and to use less oil. They're only ready to do half of that.”
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
“John McCain has come out with a balanced energy plan. … The Democrats, on the other hand, have put forward their plan in Congress and it has no energy supply increase whatsoever -- none. The American people will see through this.”
Senator John Cornyn
“Why does Senator Obama refuse to allow us to develop our own domestic energy resources in a way that would reduce this dangerous dependence? That is the question that divides us and the Democrat majority, along with Senator Obama.”
Full press avail transcript after the jump.
TRANSCRIPT: GOP press avail following the weekly policy lunch
(Gas prices, domestic production, taxes) June 17, 2008
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., Senate Republican Leader
Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee
Senator John Cornyn, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
MCCONNELL: Let me make two observations here at the outset. Number one is I think we all certainly know that gas prices are the number one issue in the country. The Democratic nominee for president says that he's not so troubled by $4 a gallon gas, but concerned about how quickly we got there.
I think most Americans believe that $4 gas is too much, whether we got there quickly or slowly. The gas prices are too high. Senate Republicans intend to continue to continue to discuss this and to advocate policies that we think would have -- make an extraordinary difference, in not only, some of it, in the short term, but certainly in the near future.
Issue number two, on the tax extenders, it remains the position of the majority of my conference that extending existing tax policy should not be used as an excuse to raise taxes on other Americans.
In addition to that being in the House-passed bill that we're about to vote on for the second time, there are some rather odd riders that have been added by House Democrats.
One is a provision to benefit the plaintiffs' bar by providing deductibility of advance costs in contingency fee cases, another to put in Davis-Bacon riders, and another to fund a project in New York City. And none of that we think is appropriate for this extender package which ought to be designed to extend current tax law and not raise taxes on other Americans.
ALEXANDER: Our friends on the Democratic side seem to have forgotten half of the law of supply and demand. If we want to lower gas prices from the $4 levels, we have to honor the supply and demand law. That means we have to find more, as well as use less.
Republicans are ready to do both -- to find more and to use less. Democrats are not. They're not willing to find more oil. We believe that it is right to allow governors and states to decide that we should have more offshore exploration, just as four states already do along the Gulf coast.
That would give money to the states for education, conservation, and other purposes, money to the treasury, and help -- helping find more oil would help to lower the price of gasoline.
We believe the same with oil shale. We could have 2 million barrels a day from oil shale. American energy now that would help lower the price of gasoline. We're ready to do it. The Democrats are not.
We're also ready to use less. We're ready to fully support plug-in electric cars. That's 100 percent American energy. That uses less oil.
So the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that we understand the law of supply and demand, and they don't. We're ready to find more oil and to use less oil. They're only ready to do half of that.
HUTCHISON: I think the biggest issues that this election will be decided on this year is energy, the cost of gasoline at the pump, the cost of food in the food stores.
It is essential that Congress and our presidential candidates state positions clearly.
John McCain has come out with a balanced energy plan. It is going to have more production, conservation, renewables, environmental standards, nuclear power, the cleanest form of energy that we could possibly have.
All of these things are a package that Americans will be able to see would give us energy independence by the year 2025. That is something Americans can grasp as a goal. And John McCain is putting that forward.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have put forward their plan in Congress and it has no energy supply increase whatsoever -- none. The American people will see through this. They will see that you cannot have energy self-sufficiency by the year 2025, to keep our national security, to keep our economic security, without more supply.
A balanced approach is what Republicans are putting forward. And I hope that the American people will study this issue and realize that we can do something. This is America. We can do it if we just have the will to do it.
CORNYN: Let me read you a quote from Senator Obama. He said, "Our dependence on foreign oil strains family budgets and it saps our economy. Oil money pays for the bombs going off, from Baghdad to Beirut, and the bombasts of dictators from Caracas to Tehran."
He said, "Our nation will not be secure unless we take that leverage away. And our planet will not be safe unless we move more decisively toward a clean energy future."
We agree with Senator Obama. But that leads to the next question. Why does Senator Obama refuse to allow us to develop our own domestic energy resources in a way that would reduce this dangerous dependency.
That is the question that divides us and the Democrat majority, along with Senator Obama. But, according to the latest Rasmussen poll, 67 percent of the respondents believe that we should explore in the Outer Continental Shelf, in the submerged lands on our shoreline; 64 percent said they expect that that would lower gasoline prices, and I believe they're right.
But that is the question really that Senator Obama and the majority need to answer and one of the big divisions that separates us.