Today, at gas stations across the nation, the American people are paying the price for a failed energy policy.
But faced this week with the opportunity to actually do something to address high gas prices, invest in alternatives and move toward energy independence, Republicans in the Senate once again chose the path of obstruction, just as they did with historic global warming legislation last week.
Over the last eight years, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their Republican allies in Congress have fallen over themselves to give oil companies huge tax breaks. They have repeatedly blocked meaningful progress toward energy independence and they have shown no interest in taking on the unchecked speculation that has created extreme volatility in energy markets and pushed oil and gas prices upward.
Yesterday, addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vice President Cheney said, "We have to recognize that there isn't anything out there that is going to get us away from a hydrocarbon economy anytime in the near future. There really isn't anything on the horizon that today is economic, relative, for example, to basic, good old oil and gas."
Not surprising coming from an oil man, and the man who sat down with oil company lobbyists behind closed doors to write the current failed policy. But those remarks show the bankruptcy of the Republican vision on energy. It's a vision of the status quo, invested in the problem, not in finding a solution. And it just doesn't cut it.
We need a new long-term strategy, one that fights global warming, one that ends this dependence on foreign oil. It's a strategy that will make us a leader in the world, that will create green jobs and technologies we can export, and will spur an economic renaissance in the nation.
I believe that that it's time for lawmakers to decide whose side they are on. Are they on the side of big special interests, or do they stand with the American people and an energy policy that we -- and the world -- can live with?
Tuesday I spoke about these issues on the Senate floor, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share the video with you. You can view the remarks here, and I would love to hear your feedback.