Democrats Tell Obama: Prevent Higher Gas Prices

Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012 11:57 AM

By Dan Weil

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Republicans have been hammering President Barack Obama in recent days over gasoline prices, which at $3.72 a gallon are nearly twice the level they were when he took office. Now, congressmen in his own party are starting to get on the president’s case too, The Hill reports.

They want Obama to consider releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to keep gas prices from soaring through the stratosphere and hurting their chances for re-election. They worry that the increase will stifle  the economy’s nascent rebound.

Senior Democratic lawmakers and vulnerable incumbents say Obama should consider putting on the market tens of millions of barrels of oil stored in the SPR’s special salt caverns on the Gulf Coast, The Hill reports.

“We may need it because this is a central issue to economic recovery. I don’t rule that out if there isn’t a move in the right direction,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat. “If it’s going to jeopardize economic recovery, the president should seriously consider it.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who faces a tight re-election race, said Obama should consider dipping into the SPR and other steps to increase domestic oil supplies, such as allowing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of Texas.



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