Struggling to match a coordinated Republican offensive on gas prices, President Obama will call for higher energy taxes today in a rehash of an idea even Democrats acknowledge won’t ease the pain at the pump.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said as much last May, saying, “I think that it’s not going to have any effect on the price of gasoline.”
The sponsor of the Senate bill calling for higher energy taxes – Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) – acknowledged that it “won't do anything about gas prices exceeding $4 a gallon in many places,” the Associated Press reported at the time. “The bill, Democrats stressed, is not meant to reduce gas prices,” according to The Hill.
There’s more, this from E&E News: “The sponsors of the new legislation today agreed that their bill would have little impact on soaring prices at the gasoline pump. ‘It would be dishonest to say we have a magic wand we could wave to bring down gas prices,’ [Sen. Claire] McCaskill (D-MO) said.”
When this issue came up last spring, CNN called it “standard gas crisis fare” from Democrats and noted “experts say it would not affect gas prices short term.” Actually, there’s more evidence to suggest the president’s idea would increase prices. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service stated in a March 2011 analysis that what the president is calling for “would make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence,” hurting families already struggling with gas prices that have more than doubled since President Obama took office.
Rather than call for votes on ideas discredited by members of his own party, President Obama should seize on the new hope that some of the bipartisan energy bills the House has passed will soon be taken up by the Democratic-run Senate. These measures, part of Republicans’ American Energy Initiative & Plan for America’s Job Creators, remove barriers to energy production, stop policies that drive up gas prices, and execute the ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy the president now says he supports. With two in three Americans saying gas prices are causing them financial hardship, we can’t wait for action to address the pain at the pump.
Live at 11:30 a.m. ET → Speaker Ryan's Weekly Press Briefing: speaker.gov/live