President Bush's four-point plan offered Tuesday to help get a grip on rising gas prices opened a fount for Democrats who slammed the president and claim that this could be the election issue of the year — one that favors them.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced an amendment to the emergency supplemental spending bill now in the Senate that would impose a 50 percent windfall profits tax on oil company revenue derived from sales of oil at more than $40 per barrel.
Dodd said he anticipates that senators will attempt to deride this legislation, but they do so at their "own peril" because soaring gas prices will affect the 2006 election.
But Republicans countered that Democrats have obstructed efforts to up the supply of oil and for many years listened to "radical environmentalists" who forced onerous regulations on oil companies. Read more.
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Here's what people in the news are saying:
"I think the American public on this issue, on this issue alone, may decide the election this fall, on where you stand on this issue: on whether or not you stand with those that want to see a rebate going back or whether or not you're going to protect large oil companies...and if you're perceived as standing on that side and your up for re-election or election, then you're in trouble." — Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
"The same Democrats who voted against increasing our energy supply, expanding our refining capacity and exploring alternative sources now have the audacity to point fingers and place blame. Opposing responsible plans to increase our energy supply is reckless, and Americans will pay the price at the pump this summer." — House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
"Americans understand, by and large, that the price of crude oil is going up and that the prices are going up, but what they don't want and will not accept is manipulation of the market. And neither will I." — President George W. Bush
Check out what FOX Fans are saying:
“Democrats AND Republicans both need to put their money where their mouth's are and eliminate the per gallon gasoline tax and give us INSTANT relief. Blaming the oil companies is just plain wrong and they know it. Government is to blame with strict EPA rules, no drilling and taxes. Washington is to blame for this entire mess.” — D. (Pasadena, TX)
"If this is the Democrats prized issue for the next election, they're in bigger trouble than I thought! Isn't higher gasoline prices what they're wanted? Higher gas prices will, so the Democrats have said, force people to buy smaller cars and will force us to get more serious about alternative fuels, etc. Heck, the Democrats stand with the environmentalist when our government wants to expand drilling and oil exploration in our country and they fight any talk about new refineries." — Lisa (Reno, NV)
"What's the Democratic plan for anything? All they do is carp. The last Democrat with good ideas was Carter, and he got them from his daughter!" — John
"I feel that it's time to vote EVERYONE out of office and give new leaders a chance (if we still have one)." — Frankie
"If anything, the Dems will use this for one of their favorite things — increase taxes. Of course, any tax assessed to the oil companies is just passed on to consumers. If Congress is serious about doing something to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, we need to start utilizing our own resources in this country, and take another look at nuclear energy, as well as other alternative sources of energy." — Eric (Orlando, FL)
"If the president can't articulate the sorry history of dishonesty and political quackery that has and continues to pass for leadership in both parties, he should resign. He has nothing to lose by being painfully honest with us." — William
"I am disgusted with the behaviors of politicians in the debate over gas prices. There is no quick fix and there is no one idea that is going to correct the issue. Democrats and Republicans have to stop pointing fingers and start productively working the problem. We need a short term strategy focused on what we can do to have immediate relief on prices, such as cutting the taxes on gas and SOME additional drilling. Also, we need a long-term strategy that creates competition in the market place by pursuing alternatives such as ethanol, hydrogen, hybrids and public transportation infrastructure, which are all things that need to be pursued immediately. The government will have to take an immediate, aggressive role in developing the infrastructure for alternative fuels or this problem is just going to spiral out of control. The technology is there, but the infrastructure isn't." — Craig (Charlotte, NC)
"Lawmakers are completely at fault for almost every problem facing America today! It's time to pin the blame where it belongs: on Congress!" — Truman (Waterloo, IA)
"I think the answer is yes, but not because the gas prices are high. I think so because the Bush administration has been ineffective in allowing the oil companies to drill in Alaska, and ineffective in pushing the production of bio-diesel and cars that can use it. Now I know the Democrats had a lot to do with blocking the drilling in Alaska, but Bush is the president and it happened on his watch. Personally, I would pay $4 per gallon of bio-diesel rather than have my money go to the oil-producing nations." — Ron (Check, VA)
"Well, this is assuming that Americans will actually vote for president instead of who to vote off of 'American Idol.' It's so pathetic." — Kip (Boston, MA)
"I wouldn't vote Democrat if the gas cost $10 a gallon! I'm not a Republican, but the Dems make me nauseous. Commodity traders and their effect on the price of oil needs to be investigated. Going up on supply and demand is simple 'Econ 101,' but responding to rumor and taking profits the next day makes one wonder if the cost is based on 'Greed 101.'" — Frank (Gulf Breeze, FL)