Tomorrow I’ll speak with Senator John Cornyn about energy policy and Democratic intransigence, but today voters can hear him loud and clear. Cornyn delivered a speech today in the Senate, video of which can be seen at his website, criticizing Democrats for almost two years of inaction on energy policy. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took control of Congress with gas prices at $2.33 per gallon, and eighteen months later they still have delivered nothing on energy policy (via Michelle):
Now, there is some good news. We actually did finally after 145 days of going dark, listening to foreign terrorists, because we hadn’t reauthorized the Foreign Intelligence Survelliance Act, finally we were able to get a bipartisan compromise and pass that legislation after 145 days of delay. But, here again, this is where the majority party, the Democrats, controlled the agenda, and, frankly, we’re seeing unnecessary delays which is causing harm not only to our intelligence gathering, but also here, 603 days since the Colombia Free Trade Agreement has been stalled. This is an example where my state sells $2.3 billion of produce from our farmers and manufactured goods to Colombia. They bear a tariff which would be removed if the Colombia Free Trade Agreement were to go through. Which would create additional markets and help create jobs and improve the economy and not only in Texas, but across the country. If we could persuade Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to allow this to go through, we could see a boost in our economy as a result of that free trade. Then, of course, there’s the matter of judicial nominees that have been blocked because of the unwillingness of the Majority Leader to allow them to have a vote on the Senate floor, 748 days.
But I’m really here to talk about this last figure, and that’s 814. It has been 814 days since Speaker Pelosi said in anticipation of the 2006 election, she said, if Democrats get elected, and if I become Speaker, we’re going to have a commonsense plan to bring down the price of gasoline at the pump. Well, that was when gasoline prices were $2.33 a gallon. I mean, we thought gas prices were high then. But what are they today in they’re an average of $4.11 a gallon. And we’re still waiting for that plan. So we’re here to ask in the most respectful way that we know how for the Democrat Majority Leader in the Senate who controls the floor of the Senate to bring a bill to the floor which will allow us to deal with this national economic crisis. And to provide some relief to the hard-working families in Texas and across the nation who need some help. Because we know that high-energy prices not only impact the quality of life and the economic welfare of hard-working people in my state and across the country. It has a ripple effect on the price of food and other commodities which are driving up inflation and which are threatening our economy. So we need some action.
I was somewhat amused to hear the distinguished Senator from New Jersey, Senator Menendez, to come to the floor yesterday. He talked about the need to act more and talk less. Act more and talk less. I agree with the slogan. But I wish the Majority Leader and our friends on the other side of the aisle, who are in control of the agenda of the Senate, would take their own advice. Act more, talk less. We know what’s necessary in order to deal with the energy crisis in this country. But here’s what we encountered, nothing but obstruction.
Joining Cornyn today, in a guest post at his blog, is Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. Her state has enormous reserves of oil and natural gas, most of which goes untapped because of federal restrictions. Palin says that the debate over energy resources ceased being academic long ago, and it’s time for Congress to get practical:
In my opinion, the debate about energy policy is no longer theoretical or abstract. Our failure to enact an energy policy is having real consequences for every American in their daily lives and has begun to affect America’s place in the world. Alaska is ready, willing, and able to assist the nation in addressing our acute and expanding energy needs. Like many other states, we would like the opportunity to help.
Congressional approval of responsible petroleum development in the coastal plain of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America – would be of incalculable benefit to my state and our nation.
In the last few weeks, proposals have been tabled to permit oil exploration and development in the 80 percent of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)which is off-limits to such activity. I strongly support OCS development in Alaska and elsewhere as a necessary component of a sound energy strategy. However, it makes no sense to consider the OCS and to ignore the possibility of exploration and development in highly perspective upland areas,including ANWR.
It may not make economic sense, but right now it makes political sense. The expansion of drilling to the OCS and with shale in the interior enjoys support from wide majorities, as much as 2-1 over opposition. That’s not true of ANWR, where a bare plurality support drilling, 47%-44%. Tying ANWR to OCS and shale could stall any efforts to access either of the latter. It’s better to get OCS and shale access, and address ANWR as a separate issue.
Otherwise, Palin and Cornyn have this exactly correct — and other Republicans should be shouting this same message every day. Fuel prices affect consumers all through the distribution chain, raising prices far beyond any real wage growth. The longer Congress stalls, the less buying power consumers have. It serves as a regressive burden on the economy, hitting lower-wage earners harder as it erodes disposable income and slows the economy.
Be sure to read both — and tune in tomorrow when we talk to Senator Cornyn right here at the Ed Morrissey Show at 3 pm ET.