The following is a transcript of the Democrats radio response to President Bush's weekly radio address:
Good morning. I'm Senator Maria Cantwell from the state of Washington.
With the price of gas hovering around three dollars, I don't have to tell you how skyrocketing prices are hurting working families. You feel the pinch every time you go to the gas pump.
The truth is, an average family of four will spend over three thousand dollars more on gasoline this year. Heating bills are expected to rise about four-hundred dollars for homes using heating oil, and more than six-hundred dollars for families that rely on natural gas.
High fuel costs are costing people their jobs, their pensions and their businesses.
Because of rising energy prices, farmers are having a tough time breaking even, and school districts are facing the choice of hiring teachers or paying for higher fuel costs.
These are the terrible consequences of our over-dependence on fossil fuel. The natural disasters of Katrina and Rita have showed us first hand how truly vulnerable we are.
America can do better. It's time to get serious about our energy security. In the short-term, we must protect consumers from price gouging. And, in the long-term, we must stop our over-dependence on foreign oil and make our country more secure.
These two challenges demand that we act with both urgency and compassion.
Ninety-percent of Americans believe price gouging is occurring at the pumps. Unfortunately, there are those in the nation's Capitol who do not believe consumers need further protection.
Twenty-eight states currently have laws on the books to prevent price-gouging, and we should pass something at the federal level as well.
Senate Democrats believe we should pass new legislation to stop price manipulation.
I'm glad the President called this week for conservation, but conservation must be more than a convenient slogan. Recently, the administration has rejected conservation attempts like more accurate fuel mileage for cars and bi-partisan proposals for reducing our dependence on foreign oil by a million barrels a day.
If we want to make America more secure, we must rely less on foreign oil and fossil fuel. We need leadership and a long-term vision. That's why Democrats want to make America more energy independent by 2020.
We want an energy plan that bets on American ingenuity and investment rather than gambling on the future good will of the Saudi Royal Family and the OPEC cartel.
We know we can do better. Americans always rise to the challenge. A recent study said America can reduce half of our oil use by investing in light weight materials and alternative fuels.
If we succeed, America will be economically stronger and more secure internationally.
We must embrace this goal with the same enthusiasm that John Kennedy asked Americans to when sending a man four decades ago to the moon: He said we take on these challenges:
"Not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, and one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."
Energy independence is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. The American people are counting on us and we should provide the leadership.
We can only succeed if we work together.
I'm Senator Maria Cantwell from the state of Washington. Thank you for listening.