Pain at the Pump: Gas Prices Rise on Democrats' Watch

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 15, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Had George Bush gotten his hands around this problem when he first took office, the price would not be $3 a gallon, but $2 a gallon or a $1.80 a gallon or a $1.50 a gallon.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-N.Y.: This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. We are not going to get that from this administration or this Republican Congress.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER, D-CALIF.: We will do better. We need a new direction.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, remember that? The Democrats blaming the president for high gas prices, pledging to do something about it if they took control of Congress. Well, since Election Day, the price of a gallon of gas has jumped nearly 40 percent.

So what happened? Let's ask Democratic Congressman Albert Wynn of Maryland.

Congressman, what happened?

REP. ALBERT WYNN, D-MD.: Well, Democrats are working. We are keeping true to our pledge. If you recall, during the first 100 hours, we rolled back the big tax break that the oil companies got. That gave us $14 billion.

For the first time, we were putting money into alternative energy development. Whereas the Bush administration was basically sitting on the sidelines and watching as oil doubled from the time he came in to the present time.

CAVUTO: But, Congressman, isn't the dirty little secret that we need to expand refining capacity? And short of that, we are going to still be in this pickle?

WYNN: Well, we have — it is a complex problem. Yes, we need more refining capacity. But fundamentally, worldwide demand, U.S. demand, all contribute to the problem. But we could have done more in terms of developing alternatives during the last six years when the Bush administration had the watch.

Right now, Democrats are creating incentives for alternative energy development. And let me add one thing. Two years ago we tried to pass a price-gouging amendment when the Republicans were in charge, they killed it. This year, we are having hearings on it. This week, we are going to pass a price-gouging bill which will basically say if there are illegitimate reasons — basically fraudulent reasons for price increases, we are going to be able to investigate and punish.

The Republicans didn't do that. Democrats are doing things in a very different way...

CAVUTO: But didn't.

WYNN: We are going to tackle this problem.

CAVUTO: . they not do it because they just did not buy the argument, Congressman, that people were being deliberately gouged? That this is, in fact, a sign of a very strong economy, demand is up there for a very limited...

WYNN: There was.

CAVUTO: of available oil and we would love to sort of look for villains and I'm sure there are a couple.

WYNN: At the time.

CAVUTO: ...but the fact is there is not.

WYNN: ...there was evidence of gouging. At the — two points. At the time there was evidence of gouging. We could have passed a bill. The bill just says you have the right under the Federal Trade Commission to investigate evidence of price-gouging and if you find it, to punish the people who are gouging prices. This would have had a very positive effect.

CAVUTO: But they didn't, right? Congressman, they didn't, right?

WYNN: They didn't do it. We are going to do it.

CAVUTO: The FTC didn't find it, right?

WYNN: No, the Republicans did not allow us to pass the amendment. They killed the amendment. We would have put that amendment in, we would have given the authority to the Federal Trade Commission. That could have had a calming effect in terms of discouraging anyone who would be engaged in price-gouging.

CAVUTO: All right. But you would have to prove the gouging.

WYNN: Yes, you would have to prove it.

CAVUTO: And they never did, right?

WYNN: But because we had the mechanism, it would discourage gouging. We didn't have the mechanism, there is lots of evidence of gouging.

CAVUTO: All right. We will see. Congressman, thank you very much.

WYNN: Thank you

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