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Republican lawmakers step up attacks on Obama administration over rising gas prices

Nov. 17, 2011: Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.Reuters

As part of a week-long push, some leading Republicans continued blaming President Obama's policies for soaring gas prices.

"They seem determined to undertake policies that actually drive up the price of oil and gasoline because of their hope that we will somehow live in a world where only solar panels and wind turbines are necessary," Texas Sen. John Cornyn told Fox News.

On Tuesday, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu was on the hot seat, when Mississippi Republican Rep. Alan Nunnelee asked if the Department of Energy is actively trying to lower fuel costs.

"Is the overall goal to get our price of gasoline down?" Nunnelee asked.

"No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy," Chu responded.

At the White House briefing, Fox News asked Press Secretary Jay Carney about Chu's comment.

"I'm not aware of that statement or the characterization that you give it," Carney said.

Chu first irritated many Republicans when he told the Wall Street Journal in 2008: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."

The argument being, if Americans are forced to pay $8 or more per gallon, that would encourage the country to wean itself from fossil fuels.

However, that logic leaves Republicans like Sen. John Thune from South Dakota scratching their heads.

"When you are doubling, literally doubling the price per gallon of gasoline, how does that strengthen your economy?" Thune said.

After a White House lunch with the president, House Speaker John Boehner says he raised a familiar energy issue, the Obama administration's decision against approving the controversial Keystone oil pipeline.

"I did press the president on the Keystone pipeline," Boehner told reporters. "He said, 'Well, you're going to get part of it.' I just wish it was the part that would deliver oil out of Canada and North Dakota."

Some Democrats argue one possible answer to this gas price surge is increasing supply by releasing part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

"If it's a strategic reserve, I don't know what is it being used for? We are unlikely to have a nuclear war with the Soviet Union," Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank said.

The U.S.S.R. may be gone, but there is a serious concern about a potential conflict with Iran. If that were to happen, some experts believe fuel prices would likely double in a matter of days.

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

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