It was apparent House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was well-rested after Easter recess the way she came out railing against Republicans in the press conference she held today on oil prices.
In just 20 minutes, flanked by fellow Democratic Reps. Bart Stupak (Mich.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and James Clyburn (S.C.), Pelosi came up with these ringers:
-"They [Republicans] are so tied to big oil they can’t even grasp what energy independence means."
-"Only we [Dems] can do it [get energy independence] because we are free from the money and the anvil and the muck that is tying them [Republicans] to oil companies."
-"They [Republicans] are so devoid of ideas, they are so tied to big oil they can’t possibly think in any innovative positive way that makes American competitive."
-"They’re [Repulicans] thinking so tiny, tiny small…As long as they are only thinking big oil, they will come up with small solutions."
-"Where have you been, Mr. President? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is effected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of Washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech, let’s see that matched in your budget, let’s see that matched in your policy, let’s see that matched in and you’re separating yourselves yourself from your patron, big oil, cut yourself off from that anvil holding your party down and this country down."
Portions of her remarks from the presser are in their complete question and answer form below.You can also note how she tried to dance out of the question regarding taking repealing the federal gas tax–that funds the Highway Trust Fund that financed a record number of earmarks this year.
Stay tuned for more action as I explore what other members have to say about lifting the moratorium on drilling offshore our east and west coasts as I did with Leader Pelosi at this press conference.
REPORTER:Ms. Pelosi, the Republicans are complaining that Democrats are just trying to take advantage of the situation politically and that you all did not support them in doing all the things they needed to do on the last energy bill.
REPRESENATATIVE NANCY PELOSI: Ha.Ha.Ha. it’s so appalling that they would even resort to this pathetic approach. The Republicans had the votes, they put forth their energy bill, they passed it and the American people paid the price. And while we are at it, they passed that bill under an ethical cloud. The policy was developed behind closed doors in the white house with the oil men, Dick Cheney and his sponsor George W. Bush. This policy came to the Congress in a way that was detrimental to our environment, did not help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and the piece de resistance give subsidies, billions of dollars of subsidies to the oil companies which has been said had already been making obscene record historic profits. I don’t know what kind of physician’s care is needed by the Republicans for them to think that they could charge us for not voting for their bill when they had the votes and they passed the bill… This is again another example of the culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence on their part. As the bill was being written and presented, the energy department said it would increase the price at the pump. As the policy was being devised, it was behind closed doors without the transparency. And for this corruption there is a cost to the American people. Make no mistake about that. I will go on further to say this: these people can’t help themselves. They are so tied to big oil they can’t even grasp what energy independence means. Democrats understand that. We have made our pledge in our innovation agenda and in our real security agenda that America will be energy- independent and we intend to achieve it within five years, only we can do it because we are free from the money and the anvil and the muck that is tying them to the oil companies.
REPORTER:And what do you think of Republicans saying now we have to go back and try to pass ANWR?
REP. PELOSI: It’s just consistent, let’s take it under the frame. What is good for big oil versus what works for the consumer, the environment, our national security, our economy? What works for the few versus what works for the many? They are so devoid of ideas, they are so tied to big oil they can’t possibly think in any innovative positive way that makes America competitive.
REPORTER: The Department of Energy issued a report September 2005 that specifically talked about the moratorium that prohibits drilling on the east and west coast. Would you support lifting that to immediately impact gas prices and drive them down?
REP. PELOSI: Absolutely not. What we have to do, what our nation has to do is make a decision to be energy independent. We should be spending our energy dollars to the middle west, not the middle east. Mr. Clyburn and congresswoman delauro talked about alternative energy sources where we and our own agriculture area would be able to have sources of oil that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They’re thinking so tiny, tiny small. They have to think beyond that. They have got to think of our national security, our economy, our environment and they have got to think about america’s consumers. As long as they are only thinking big oil, they will come up with these small solutions.
REPORTER: The senate today proposed the federal gas tax to give immediate gas relief at the pump. How do you feel about that plan?
REP. PELOSI: I have been seen the proposal. Did it pass?
REPORTER: It was an amendment to the supplemental spending bill–
REP. PELOSI: Interesting to see. I just don’t know what is that. I just want to follow up on what Mr. Clyburn said and that is this: remember one thing, if you want to be energy independent and democrats attend, intend to achieve that within ten years, and if you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore improve our national security situation, you can’t do it if you’re a republican because you are too wedded to the oil companies. We have two oilmen in the white house. The logical follow-up from that is $3 a gallon gasoline. There is no accident. It is a cause and effect. A cause and effect. How dare the president of the united states make a speech today in April many, many, many months after the American people have had to undergo the cost of home heating oil, a woman told me she almost fainted when she received her home heating bill over this winter. And when so many people making the minimum wage, which hasn’t been raised in eight years, which has a very low purchasing power have to go out and buy gasoline at these prices? Where have you been, Mr. President? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is effected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of Washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech, let’s see that matched in your budget, let’s see that matched in your policy, let’s see that matched in and you’re separating yourselves yourself from your patron, big oil, cut yourself off from that anvil holding your party down and this country down. Instead of coming to Washington and throwing your Republican colleagues under the wheels of the train, which they mightily deserve for being a rubber stamp for your obscene, corrupt policy of ripping off the American people. Thank you all very much.