Senate Republicans Block Oil Speculation Bill

Today, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on legislation to rein in speculation in the oil markets. Instead, they are calling for votes to expand oil drilling at home as well as expansion of nuclear energy.

In a 50-43 vote, Democrats failed to gain enough support to bring the bill forward for consideration on the Senate floor and now face another week of energy debate as Republicans threatened to hold up the measure to hammer home their “drill more, use less” policy.

(snip)

“There’s clearly nothing more important in the country for Congress to deal with…than the price of gas at the pump,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The Minority Leader said his party would continue to hold up business on the Senate floor until Democrats allowed them to offer a series of amendments on expanded offshore drilling, oil shale development, nuclear power and other energy solutions.

“We’re not getting off this bill very quickly,” said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Read the full report here.

This comes on the heels of the Republicans obstructing oil companies drilling on the 68 million acres of public land they already have leases on instead of obtaining new lease rights – at dirt cheap prices.

If you are expecting any relief at the pump, don’t look to the Republicans to help you.

It sounds as if we need to contact our elected officials and tell them what we think. Click here and then on your state for all your elected official’s contact information. Remember, letters and faxes are more effective than calls.

h/t: Liam at TPM.

UPDATE: FireDogLake and DailyKos have more on this.

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2 thoughts on “Senate Republicans Block Oil Speculation Bill

  1. What I find most disturbing about this is that it displays a zero comprehension of how free markets work. Here we have a party who believe that free markets are the panacea to all the world’s ills, and yet, they are pursuing a policy whose very tagline is total non-sense. “Drill more, use less.”

    Even if we take them at their word, that more drilling would drive down prices — which btw, it won’t — that would encourage consumers to consume more oil, not less. This is basic Econ 101. If the Republican plan succeeded, the basic result would be an increase in oil consumption and a reduced concern for alternative energies. That’s what happens when the price of a good goes down. That’s the whole point of the free market.

    At this point, a real energy policy needs to focus on two things: getting alternative fuels to a point where they can compete with the ever dwindling supply of oil, and creating a transportation infrastructure that can function without the need for oil. These are, of course, monumental challenges, which is why Al Gore’s proposal for an Apollo-style program meant to change America’s energy consumption is the only thing that really makes sense, and views this task for what it is: the biggest challenge the Western World has faced since the Cold War.

    Unlike the Cold War, though, there are no human actors controlling global warming whose rationality prevents them from destroying the world. There’s no button to push, only a point of no return to which we draw closer with each passing day.

    If the Republicans wish to provide relief to the average American, they needn’t do it at the pump. Gas is not the only pressure point afflicting the wallets of Mr. and Mrs. John Q. American. Where are the proposals to ease the burden of college tuition? Where are the proposals to ease the cost of health care? There’s an enormous amount of room for savings in each of those areas, which would be every bit as beneficial to Americans as lower prices at the pump would. The only difference is, those savings wouldn’t necessarily encourage Americans to consume more of a commodity which is slowly killing our planet.

    Perhaps some people would say, “Gee, I’m saving so much on college tuition, I think I’ll spend it on this costly gas,” but I doubt it. More than likely such savings would go to purchasing more consumer goods. This would have the added benefit of improving our currently weak economy.

    We must also consider that the rising cost of gas is causing the price of food to go up as well. Frankly, this is ultimately a blessing. It’s time for us to return to a food policy which encourages Americans to buy and eat food grown near their home. If the food we eat didn’t first have to travel great distances to reach us, the cost of gas would have far less of an impact on their price.

    In short, the energy crisis isn’t simply an energy crisis. It’s the realization that the economy we’ve constructed is not sustainable. That doesn’t mean we need to toss out our televisions and live on self-sustaining farms. It just means that we might not be able to get pineapples year round.

    The Republican plan is a joke. It’s nothing more than a massive giveaway to the oil companies. And let’s not forget, that these oil companies — rich as they may be — have finite budgets to work with. If you open up more land to drilling, then they are going to invest in drilling that land, which means they’ll have less money to use to research alternative energy. The Democrats plans aren’t perfect, but at least they don’t contribute to the problem the way the GOP is attempting to do.

    But if we want to know where we really need to be headed, then we need look no further than Al Gore. He’s been on the right side of this issue for a very long time.

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