Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski had some harsh words for Democratic colleagues trying to blame President Donald Trump’s agenda for rising gasoline prices.
“I agree that OPEC’s supply restrictions are driving prices higher and should be addressed, but I was stunned to hear my colleagues encouraging more production from the likes of Iran and Saudi Arabia, rather than right here in America, as the solution,” Murkowski said Wednesday in a statement issued hours after Democrats held a press briefing on gas prices.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and three colleagues blamed rising gas prices on GOP-led tax cuts and Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement struck by the Obama administration in 2015.
It’s part of Democrats’ broader push to tie Trump’s policies to gas prices ahead of Memorial Day weekend when millions of Americans hit the road on vacation.
Trump should tell oil companies “don’t keep raising your price, you just got a huge tax break, you’re making huge profits,” Schumer said
Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, pointed out her state had some of the highest gas prices in the country. Democratic Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Ed Menendez of New Jersey went after Trump’s “incoherent” foreign policy.
“I guarantee you, what they got in the tax break just got washed away in higher gas prices,” said Cantwell, the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which Murkowski chairs. (RELATED: Scientists Predict Slower, Wetter Hurricanes Based On Unlikely ‘Extreme CO2 Warming’)
Democrats urged Trump to pressure OPEC leaders and Russia to end their production cuts, which drove up crude oil prices, echoing recommendations made in a report released Wednesday by the liberal Center for American Progress.
Murkowski, however, was not pleased that Democrats were calling for more oil to be produced in other countries, including Russia, rather than domestically. Murkowski also hit Democrats for opposing policies to expand drilling, pipeline access and lift regulations on refineries.
“This is pretty simple,” Murkowski said. “If you don’t support access, leasing, production, pipelines, refineries, or the reasonable regulation of all of those, you’ll be left at the mercy of countries that don’t like us.”
Cantwell, Markey, Menendez and Schumer co-sponsored legislation to block oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which could hold 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Those lawmakers also voted against legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline in early 2015. The group also opposed a 2016 bill to increase offshore drilling revenue with states — a policy proponents said would incentivize more energy exploration.
The Democrats’ 2016 party platform called for taxing carbon dioxide emissions, which would have certainly raised gas prices.
As a House member, Markey sponsored a 2009 bill to implement a national cap-and-trade program that would have raised the price of fossil fuels, including gasoline.
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