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Rep. Blunt: Blame Dems for Gas Prices

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, meanwhile, my next guest says, blame the Democrats for those high gas prices.

Congressman Roy Blunt is a Republican from Missouri.

So, Congressman, you are saying we have got the wrong people up on the stand, huh?

Click here to watch Cavuto's interview with Congressman Roy Blunt

REP. ROY BLUNT (R-MO), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: Well, I think we very well may have.

In the -- when the Democrats took control of the Congress, gasoline was 99 cents or $1 cheaper than it is today. They all said before they got in the majority: We have a plan. We're going to get these price -- gas prices changed.

And they did. I guess I just thought they were going to try to get them changed the other way.

And this hearing today, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, a Democrat, Chairman Dingell, says that committee is a committee without impact. I don't know what the purpose of the hearing was, but we ought to be doing things that create more energy, move toward energy independence. And I have not seen that happen in any of the bills that we have brought to the House floor, had brought to the House floor in the last year.

CAVUTO: Do you think that it is an issue where you take away the tax incentives for an industry that earn collectively $123 billion, that is a no-brainer, politically...

BLUNT: Well...

CAVUTO: ... and that you Republicans are up against the grain trying to justify that?

BLUNT: You know, I don't know that we are.

I think, politically, it is easy to beat up on the oil companies. Who could be happy with these gas prices? Like I said, they are $1 higher than they were when the Democrats took over. So, who could be happy about that?

But you have got to also look at how much money those same companies are putting back into exploration and development. Remember, the incentives they are talking about taking away from the oil companies is the incentive for domestic production. It is the same manufacturing incentive that every other manufacturer in the country has.

So, if you take it away from them, they're likely to produce somewhere else, until something like that incentive comes back. It's a question, though, Neil...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Roy, it's $18 billion in total incentives, right? And for an industry that made $124 billion, who is to blame an outsider from saying, gee, you know, that's -- that's chump change for these guys?

BLUNT: But you have got to remember what the incentive is for.

It is for domestic production. It's just whether you want those jobs here or somewhere else. We -- we constantly argue we want more manufacturing jobs in the country. That is why they have this incentive. It is not an incentive that is unique to gas and oil. It is the same incentive for all manufacturing.

And that oil is not going away that is in the ground here. If you don't have incentives to go ahead and do the refining, the manufacturing here, you're going to bring in oil from somewhere else for a while, until we do what we always do, which is incent the American companies to have an American product. And we want more of that American product, not less.

We need to be moving toward energy independence, not further toward energy dependence.

CAVUTO: OK. Roy Blunt, thank you very much.

BLUNT: Thank you. Good to be with you.

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