President, GOP wrestle with rising gas prices in weekly addresses
April 30th, 2011
11:20 AM ET
11 years ago

President, GOP wrestle with rising gas prices in weekly addresses

Washington (CNN)-President Obama reflected on pain at the gas pump during his weekly address Saturday.

Noting figures that suggest the economy is growing again with an increase of almost 2 million private sector jobs over the last 13 months, the president recognized it's "still too hard to find a job" and "rising gas prices mean real pain for our families at the pump."

He compared the impact of increasing gas prices with profits made by oil companies and subsidies given by the federal government to oil producers that amount to $4 billion a year. "When oil companies are making huge profits and you're struggling at the pump, and we're scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren't right," the president said.

President Obama called for an end to "tax giveaways" for oil and gas companies because "they aren't smart." He repeated the challenge to stop "subsidizing yesterday's energy" and "invest in tomorrow's."

Obama trumpeted investments in clean energy, affirming that they "can lead to new jobs and new businesses."

Recognizing the demand to cut spending somewhere, the president agreed that "the only way we'll be able to afford the things we need is if we cut the things we don't." And he stood firm on his belief in clean energy.

"I know that in this tough fiscal environment, it's tempting for some in Washington to want to cut our investments in clean energy…But I refuse to cut things like clean energy that will help America win the future by growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs; that will help make America more secure; and that will help clean up our planet in the process," he stated.

"An investment in clean energy today is an investment in a better tomorrow," the president said.

Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford blamed rising gas prices for "costing jobs and hurting our economy" in the GOP weekly address, but his solution directly contradicted the president's.

"Higher energy costs make everything made in the USA more expensive, and send more good-paying jobs overseas," he said. But the freshman congressman criticized President Obama's proposal to end oil subsidies, saying it would "actually make the problem worse."

"The President may think he's punishing CEOs of big companies, but his plan will hurt the everyday consumer of energy and imperil the jobs of millions of hardworking people in American-based companies," said Lankford, as he distinguished the differences between Republicans and the president.

"Republicans are focused on expanding all American energy production to help lower costs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create millions of American jobs," he stated.

"The President's budget proposal fails to credible plan that meets the nation's challenges in a serious manner."
Lankford accused President Obama of developing a proposal that "protects the status quo" and called for an end to "blank checks and huge bills on our children so someone in Washington can retain power."

Rep. Lankford declared, "We can do this if we will work together to solve the problems instead of just talking about them."

Filed under: Energy • gas prices • GOP weekly address • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    Why not take Trump's sage advice and order OPEC to lower oil prices. Oh, right, because they won't. We Americans need to drive less, much less and we need to drive small cars instead of the gas guzzling SUV's we love so much. The Republicans need to work with President Obama on this instead of being obstructionists. Also, while I'm at it, where are those jobs the Republicans promised? Green energy jobs would be an excellent place to start.

    April 30, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. The Newbold Doctrine

    The key to reducing reducing governmental spending associated with Waste, Fraud & Abuse is to apply a free-market solution.

    We need to impliment a 5% Reward to ANY INDIVIDUAL that rats out fradulent MEDICARE requests for re-imbursement. There is always some clerk, some medical assistance, some nurse [none of whom are benefiting from the theft] that know enough about the details to provide the smoking gun that would allow a thieving doctor or laboratory to be caught.

    Notionally, if we American taxpayers lose $100B per year to Medicare fraud today, doesn't it make sense to pay $5B to the common man to save the other $95 BILLION ??? If these clerks can identify and provide evidence on a big enough scam, I have no problem with them getting RICH by hitting the ABUSE-PREVENTION lottery.

    I'd like to see us motivate the "for profit" instincts that exist within individual citizens. If we do then Waste, Fraud & Abuse will be severely curtailed and the deficit will be greatly reduced.

    April 30, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Charlie in Maine

    Exxon/Mobil record profits/ high prices at the pump? How about instead of tax breaks we charge the oil companies for taking oil out of our ground?

    April 30, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Indy

    Any country that does not move towards alternative energy will be left in the dust and become a third world country. If Americans do not push for education,innovation and alternative energy it will never be a global leader and will answer to all other countries that invest in alternative energy.

    April 30, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. ST

    To: Denna
    No one with the right thinking will listen to the craziness of Trump. The President doesn't own OPEC, is not a dictator either. Trump is playing with those who unfortunate are not aware how things work out!

    April 30, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |

    Let me see,.. Rep. Lankford is from Oklahoma,.. oil producing state?.. guess who he's trying to protect. Lankford is a lackey of the oil lobbyists,.. wanting to preserve the status quo, of Big oil tax breaks, while they keep screwing us at the pump. I say nationalize energy,.. no more leases for the oil companies. Move full speed ahead with renewable energy initiatives,.. wind,.. solar, ethanol etc. All prifits from energy delivery and consumption, should be returned to the treasury,.. let the taxpayers make the huge profits, and pay down the debt and finance crucial programs.

    April 30, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. john / nebraska

    i dont see much of a problem here. obama said we would have change. well we got it pocket change.gas and food prices go up by the day but he can fly around in air force 1 going to $30.000 a plate dinners. may be he could take the money he gets from all his rich doners and spread the wealth around. when are the people in this country going to wake up? this clown needs to go.

    April 30, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    A lot of good comments here about not charging oil companies to take the oil out of the ground; these lands belong to the PEOPLE of THE UNITED STATES:

    Per the White House Web site, "In 2010, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held 33 oil and gas lease sales covering 3.2 million acres, and processed more than 5,000 applications for permits to drill (APD) on Federal and Indian lands."

    We the people deserve compensation!

    April 30, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. MAC

    Charlie in Maine, the gas and oil companies pay royaltys for the gas and oil already. Most of you are too lazy to remember when oil was $10.00 a barrel and the oil companies were having record losees because it take 12 to 18 dollars a barrel to get the oil out of the ground. Also we have been subsidizing wind, solar and bio fuels for almost 50 years and look what we have gotten for our taxpayer money? Solar and wind are not reliable for continous use, I know because the gas pipeline I work for gets cycle all the time when the wind does not show up or dies sooner than expected or the clouds come in. Nuclear, coal, natural gas are the only reliable continous sources of power available with todays technology. Maybe you so called enviromentalisltshould turn off your computers because your electricity is from carbon based sources.

    April 30, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Don't really care about gas prices anymore. I bike to work. Oh, I left a job 32 miles away from my house to find one 3 miles away. Quit bitching and do something on your own about it. We will never get to alternative forms of energy unless Republican's do not get elected. For those of you that still vote for the Old have nothing to say that I want to listen to.

    April 30, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Developing alternative energy sources is America's chance to shine! We've got the brains and technological know-how to do this; we need to seize the opportunity. Multi-national corporations and some of the ultra-wealthy in the US couldn't care less about our future as a country, because all they care about is making money.

    Those of us who truly care about the long-term health and prosperity of our nation need to demand that we lead in alternative energy development. It will create jobs here in the US, and provide economic security for many generations to come.

    April 30, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    We do NOT live in a country run by a dictator, even though some newly republican governors are turning their states into dictator-run states. When a governor appoints ONE person to fire the elected officials of a city or state, that's DICTATORSHIP. See ANY news article about what's happening in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and it's being thought about in Pennsylvania and other states.

    Educate yourselves, people. It's happening to states run by REPUBLICANS.

    April 30, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Aaron

    Dems and Repubs are wrestling with high costs at the pump? All either party does is run its mouth and does absolutely nothing about the oil companies and speculators price-gouging us with their monopolies. Our elected officials in DC are mostly millionaires, so I doubt they are feeling the pain of the average American. The oil companies and speculators deny being the cause of the unjustified price increases and claim to make little profit off of gas sales. Well, somebody is making some money off of it!

    April 30, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Sgt Schultz

    America can't control the World Market in this lovely Global Economy and Free Trade that the Republicans seem to think is the answer to everything. If you don't like that our gas prices are dependent on how much demand China/India has...then you need to either regulate the U.S. markets heavily or get serious about spending BILLIONS on government-led R & D efforts to finally get the technology to adopt Renewables/Alternatives.

    April 30, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Sharon

    I thought he was going to tap into reserve to help with gas prices????????

    April 30, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. KatR

    "The President may think he's punishing CEOs of big companies, but his plan will hurt the everyday consumer of energy and imperil the jobs of millions of hardworking people in American-based companies,"

    First off...the President is not punishing CEOs of big companies. Instead, he is questioning why oil companies that are making huge profits really need a taxpayer subsidy to stay in business...especially, when prices at the pump keep going up and up.

    Secondly, American innovation always results in new and better solutions. The GOP argument that millions of hardworking people in America will lose their jobs because taxpayer funded subsidies are cut is an old and tired argument that has no basis in fact. The reality is that Americans have and always will adjust and learn new skills for the new jobs of tomorrow. I learned how to type on a non-electric typewriter as a teenager in highschool. Due to changes in technology over the years I retired from a job in which typewriters were nowhere to be found. Instead, numerous file cabinets filled with typewritten pages were replaced with small boxes that store millions and millions of digitzed information. I'm using one to type this comment. Did millions of Americans lose their jobs when typewriters became obsolete? Nope. The times, as they always have, are a-changing.

    Methinks the GOP don't like change.

    April 30, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Americans want to drive and pay for $$million dollar automobiles and pay $1.99/gallon for gas and it doesn't take a genius to know what helps drive up gasoline costs, we do.

    April 30, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. B

    Isn’t it interesting that the oil companies came up with outrageous gas prices right now that the 2012 efforts commence.

    As always, the Republicans and the largest corporations on the planet in a position to undermine Obama’s efforts to save this country from Republicans reckless, incompetent behavior.

    What a gift Oil prices are to the GOP right when they are obviously on the ropes with absolute morons stepping forth like Trump !

    April 30, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. david

    Mr. President, the Republicans are "Oil". Republicans are Wall Street. I hope some day in the next month,"That a brave,smart, Federal Prosecuter would "Look at Wall Streets "Fast Buck Speculators, and the "Middle Men and Women" who are buying and selling oil over and over again,then it hits "The Pumps" Their killing us????

    April 30, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Why not take Trump's sage advice and order OPEC to lower oil prices. Oh, right, because they won't. We Americans need to drive less, much less and we need to drive small cars instead of the gas guzzling SUV's we love so much. The Republicans need to work with President Obama on this instead of being obstructionists. Also, while I'm at it, where are those jobs the Republicans promised? Green energy jobs would be an excellent place to start.

    April 30, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |

    While I applaud what you are saying about the obstructionist party of NO, it's not so much OPEC as it is the speculators in the stock market that are driving prices sky high with ANY news of unrest in the Middle East. Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side but Trump really does not know what is driving prices up at the pump. OPEC has some say in what our prices are at the pump the but stock market speculators are the REAL problem and need to be regulated.

    April 30, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    Neither the President nor the GOP, gives a hoot about rising gas prices.

    They will talk about it, because they know it is an issue with the public, and that's about all they will

    April 30, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Sue

    Even Bill Clinton has said publicly that the rising gas prices are because of Obama. Obama has stopped drilling in our country by 50%. He has delayed/stopped issuing permits for drilling. And, he has made it his mission since being elected, to destroy the coal industry. So, any time that you are filling your vehicle with gas--and you notice the $4 or more gallon price--just thank Obama!!! This is just more of the "hopey and changey" nightmare. Obama will be one and done!! He will be evicted from the White House in 2012-when Romney is elected.

    April 30, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Rob in MO

    When oil companies are racking in billions of $$$ in profit and the Federal government is running a huge deficit, there is absolutely no excuse for government subsidy of oil companies. These ridiculous subsidies should be among the first Federal expenses eliminated. Let's get rid of corporate welfare.

    April 30, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. the real ib

    Funny; all you people that are covering for Obama sure raised heck with Bush when prices went up under him. Big difference Obama can do no wrong and Bush could do no right. Hypocrites.

    April 30, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Stacey

    Re Lankford`s comments.... it`s going to get worse at the pumps anyway, it might as well get worse for them too. They are NOT going to give us a break on gas prices so the President`s recommendation to remove tax breaks for them makes sense. They should be taxed MORE if anything.... perhaps a financial penalty everytime they raise gas prices unjustly?

    April 30, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
1 2