Madam President, yesterday afternoon I came to the floor to suggest that what has been happening in the Senate this week is precisely the kind of thing the American people do not like about Washington.
Gas prices have more than doubled under President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate. This is a problem that affects every single American, that drives up the cost of everything from commuting to groceries. Yet the Democratic response is to propose legislation that even they admit does not do a thing to lower the price of gas.
We have seven Democrats, in fact, on record saying the bill does not do a thing to lower gas prices. One of them has called it laughable. But this is apparently the best our friends on the other side can do. It is the most, apparently, they are willing to do. At a time when gas prices are at a national average of nearly $4 a gallon, this is what passes for a response to high gas prices for Washington Democrats: a bill that simply does nothing about it.
But it even gets worse than that because not only is the Democratic solution to high gas prices a bill that even they admit does nothing to lower gas prices, they will not even allow Republicans to offer any amendments that would help. Not only are they pushing a bill that will not lower gas prices, they are blocking any measure that would actually make a difference.
So at a moment when working Americans are struggling with high gas prices, the message Democrats in Washington are sending this week is simple: Get used to it. Get used to it because they have nothing--nothing--but a phony proposal aimed at distracting people from the fact that they have nothing to offer.
Maybe the reason they voted yesterday to get off their own bill is they realized the American people were on to them. Maybe they realized they did not have the political issue they thought they did. Well, my point is that they should be more concerned about helping Americans than helping their own campaigns.
So if Democrats will not allow us to offer any proposals to address this crisis, we are still going to talk about them anyway because Americans need to know there are some things we could do about this issue. We could actually have an impact on high gas prices right here in Congress. They need to hear us debate these ideas, and they need to know Democratic leaders in the Senate will not even allow a vote on any of these ideas.
This whole episode is completely unacceptable. Hopefully, at some point, a number of Democrats will recognize this--will recognize that this should be about more than political games. We ought to actually try to accomplish something.
This issue affects real people. For them, it is an urgent matter. Democrats should summon the same urgency in dealing with it. We were sent here to solve problems, not to hide from them.
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