Obama blasted for high gas prices by the house

Cyrus Massoumi

Republicans continued an orchestrated campaign to pummel President Obama for rising gas prices in what has become a routine election year standoff between the political parties over energy policy.

In both the House and Senate, Republican lawmakers took aim Tuesday at the administration’s decision to shelve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and criticized its investments in renewable energy, including the botched federal loans to the Solyndra solar equipment firm in California.

“The president says he’s for an all of the above energy strategy — anyone seen it? I haven’t,” scoffed House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

“It’s time for him to lay his cards on the table,” Boehner said. “We’ve got a handful of environmental groups — radical environmental groups — who’ve stood in the way of having a national energy policy. It’s just about damn time that we actually have a national energy policy.”

The president has few tools at his disposal to quickly bring down skyrocketing gas prices, which our Los Angeles Times colleagues report has spiked to nearly $3.70 nationwide and $4.29 in California.

Instability in the Middle East, particularly the concern over access to oil from Iran, has likely prompted fluctuations on the world market, experts have said. Gas prices have also been expected to rise as the economy improves, bolstering demand.

Investments in new domestic energy production would take time to materialize in the form of lower gas prices, experts said. But blaming the president taps into divisions in the parties’ approach to energy policy, and allows the GOP an opportunity to highlight their proposals for more domestic drilling.

“The Keystone XL pipeline and projects like it are very important,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a champion of the proposed project between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. Obama shelved for further study, balancing the concerns of key administration allies — environmentalists that say the project will cause more pollution and business leaders and some unions that support the project as a jobs creator. “We can have North American energy security, we can do it… But we’ve got to get started.”

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