Congressman Steve Pearce represents New Mexico's 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The average price for a gallon of gas was up to $3.97 last week, more than double the $1.84 national average when President Obama took office. In New Mexico, gas prices continue to rise, people struggle to make ends meet, and unemployment continues. But in Washington, the White House seems unaware of these challenges, saying one thing and doing another. We hear the President talk about domestic energy and American jobs, but we see his policies putting Americans out of work and sending prices still higher. He has proposed tax after tax on our domestic energy industry. He has advocated drilling in other countries while imposing a moratorium on our drilling jobs at home.
In fact, his policies stray so far from his rhetoric that one must wonder what’s really going on.
After all, we can’t forget that the President’s own words contradict his supposed agenda. When running for president, he advocated higher oil prices as a means to different energy sources.
Months later, we saw this policy confirmed when President Obama selected Steven Chu for Secretary of Energy. Secretary Chu summed up the Administration’s energy agenda when he stated in an interview, “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
Soon after taking office, President Obama advocated cap-and-trade, a policy that would have had devastating consequences for domestic energy. The Wall Street Journal called the program “a tax on the working class,” and cited a bipartisan Congressional Budget Office study to suggest that cap-and-trade would cost the poorest 20% of Americans about $680 per year. Again, this Administration doesn’t seem to be putting its money where its mouth is in terms of energy policy.
Then there’s the gulf oil moratorium, which has continued for almost a year now. The moratorium has reduced domestic oil production by 240,000 barrels a day, and has put 12,000 Americans out of work. Those aren’t just numbers—that’s more than the population of Artesia, suddenly wondering where their next meal will come from. And if things don’t changes soon, five times that number—another 60,000—will be left without a job. Some estimate that the moratorium will leave 100,000 people out of work.
Soon after it was introduced, a court overturned the ban. Then, in February, another court held the U.S. in contempt for continuing the moratorium. Over the last few weeks, the House of Representatives passed several bills to end the moratorium. Recently, the White House indicated that it will take action to return some of these jobs to the gulf and promote domestic drilling, but if the President is really interested in restoring our energy jobs, he could have done so all along. It should not take an act of Congress to get him to do so.
Now, as gas prices continue to spike, the White House has no plans for how to lower them. In fact, President Obama has advocated raising taxes. Our federal government is facing a debt crisis, our people are unemployed, and our president is leading a relentless attack on an industry that provides $90 million a day in revenue and supports paychecks for 9.2 million Americans.
If the President wanted you to pay less money at the pump, he could let our thousands of oil workers in the gulf go back to work. He could abandon plans to tax our energy jobs out of existence. He could protect American workers against environmentalists and special interests groups.
But the President wants you to pay more at the pump. He said so.
Call the White House and hold the President accountable to keep his promises and protect America’s energy jobs. Call your Representatives and Senators and tell them that you do not support any plan designed to raise your costs at the pump. Write your newspapers and tell them that higher gas prices and fewer American jobs is not a policy that’s good for any American.
You have the power to lower gas prices, protect American jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But to be heard, you have to speak out.