Tags: Barack Obama | Vitter | Obama | energy | gas

Sen. Vitter: Obama Stumbles on Energy Plans Even as Gas Nears $4

By Dan Weil and Ashley Martella   |   Monday, 14 Mar 2011 12:04 PM

With gasoline prices set to hit $4 a gallon, it’s more important than ever for the United States to exploit its domestic energy supply, says Sen. David Vitter. But the Obama administration is failing to move in this direction, the Louisiana Republican tells Newsmax.TV.

“We’ve made a little progress with the administration recently: At least they admit we need to increase supply,” he says.

“That’s great. However, they’re not talking about our domestic supply. They’re talking about begging Saudi Arabia to increase its output. And they’re talking about maybe opening up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is supposed to be just for national security crises.”

Instead, we should focus on domestic supply, starting with reopening the Gulf of Mexico to drilling, Vitter says. “That’s the supply we can most control. We have things in the Gulf that can be turned on immediately.”

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Vitter agrees with some other Republicans who maintain that President Barack Obama wants to see higher oil prices to spur development of green energy.

Vitter says he’s leading an effort to introduce a broad energy bill as early as next week. “It would put a lot more of our domestic resources on the table versus shutting down virtually 95 percent of our domestic energy,” he says.

As for deficit reduction, Vitter’s top priority is a balanced budget amendment. “In addition, there are a number of statutory reforms that many Republicans have asked for. I’d invite Democrats to come with their ideas. Let’s have a debate and come together and act right now.”

The $61 billion in spending cuts the Republican-controlled House approved is the “absolute minimum” for a first step.

The senator says he’s fully prepared to vote for cuts in entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The reductions should exempt those nearly or already retired, say 50 and up, “because they have no time to plan and adjust to any changes,” he says.

“But everything should be on the table. To do this, it needs to be bipartisan, and we need presidential leadership. He’s really been AWOL on this.”

And it’s not just conservatives making this complaint about Obama, Vitter notes. The Washington Post editorial board feels the same way.

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