$5 Gasoline Apparently Not Too Much for Energy and Commerce Dems

May 19, 2009

FYI, a version of the release below went out to the following districts: Rick Boucher (VA-09); Bruce Braley (IA-01); G.K. Butterfield (NC-01); Bart Gordon (TN-06); Baron Hill (IN-09); Jim Matheson (UT-02); Jerry McNerney (CA-11); Chris Murphy (CT-05) and Bart Stupak (MI-01).


$5 Gasoline Apparently Not Too Much for Chris Murphy
Refuses to Include Safeguards to Protect Families from Soaring Gas Prices

Washington- Even after Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) watched families in Connecticut struggle to make ends meet last summer when gas prices soared well over $4 per gallon nationwide, he refused today to support an amendment to protect families from a repeat energy crisis in the wake of this pending National Energy Tax.

Chris Murphy voted with his fellow Democrats against an amendment that would have protected American taxpayers and their wallets from this potentially economically devastating climate bill by including a sunset provision in the bill that would cause it to no longer be effective should gasoline prices hit $5 per gallon.

“Chris Murphy must have a serious case of amnesia if he’s already forgotten how badly Connecticut families suffered last summer from extraordinarily high gas prices,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain.  “If Chris Murphy and the Democrats have their way, struggling American families have no prayer for relief from even higher energy costs that have yet to come.”

Last year, Chris Murphy claimed he sympathized with his constituents who were suffering from sky-high gas prices, but his voting record today paints a very different picture:

“Everywhere I go, I hear about how high gas prices are hurting Connecticut families.  And all across Connecticut people are asking me: ‘What can we do?’ We fight back…” (Chris Murphy Campaign Ad, September 2008)
How quickly Chris Murphy and his fellow Democrats have forgotten the impact high gas prices had on struggling American families last summer:
Low-Income Families Suffering the Greatest Side Effects
“Food and gasoline: Soaring prices hit the poor hardest…. When the economy takes a tumble, the poor are often the first to feel the pain. … ‘The economy is affecting the low- to moderate-income individuals a great deal more than it is anybody else,’ said Johnny Cantrell, chief executive officer of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Kentucky.” (Lexington Herald-Leader Editorial, 6/1/08)

Most Needy Losing Much-Needed Help from Volunteers
“Nonprofit agencies and charities that rely on volunteer drivers to help carry out their work say soaring gas prices are forcing volunteers to scale back or even stop driving. This means there are fewer people to drive cancer patients to treatment and fewer people to deliver food to the needy.” (The Tennessean, 6/3/08)

Police and Public Education Facing Costly Cutbacks
“Consumers, already hit by $4 gasoline and rising food prices, now will see rises in the price of almost every product and many services, including essential government services such as education and police protection. … Across the nation, school districts are limiting field trips and, in some cases, canceling classes one day a week because they can’t pay the doubled cost of operating school buses.” (Houston Chronicle Editorial, 6/1/08)

Local Productivity Slowed as Officials Scale Back Work Week
“County Community OKs Gas-Saving 4-Day Work Week…. One Butler County community is responding to rising gasoline prices by letting some of its employees work four-day weeks. Seven Fields Mayor Edward Bayne III said the borough does not require its employees to live there and up to 10 of them live up to 40 minutes away.” (WTAE-TV-Pittsburgh 6/2/08)

Rural Families Forced to Choose Between Gas and Food
“A rural pain: Gas prices impact West Virginians’ long commutes…. Rising gas prices combined with a lack of public transportation is hitting poor working families hard, said Helen Estep, supervisor of the Chesapeake office of the nonprofit Capital Resource Agency. ‘They’re working 32 hours a week for minimum wage. It’s costing them two or three hours of their pay just to get to work,’ she said. ‘They come and say, ‘It’s either put gas in my car or feed my family.’” (The Charleston (WV) Gazette, 6/1/08)

Drivers Left Stranded Without Gas
“Troopers: High Gas Prices Equal More Stranded Drivers…. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said troopers are seeing more drivers stranded on the roads from running out of gas. Charlotte gas station attendants told Eyewitness News that with gas prices at $4 a gallon or more, drivers are putting less gas in their tanks. Drivers then push their fuel gauge to the limit, and end up running out of gas on the roads.” (WSOC-TV-Charlotte, 6/2/08)

Small Gas Station Owners Face Burdensome Costs to Keep up with Climbing Prices
“Gas prices keep creeping closer and closer to the $4 mark … At some stations though, the pump may soon read two dollars.  That’s because stations with old analog pumps can’t charge more than $3.99.  Those pumps will sell by the half gallon until the pumps can be replaced … Gas station owners like Proffitt will have to upgrade their old analog pumps to be able to ring up four dollars or more.” (Bristol (TN) Herald Courier, 6/3/08)

Families Can No Longer Afford to Dine Out or Support Local Businesses
“Shops and restaurants around the United States are reporting fewer visitors in the face of a credit crunch, mortgage crisis and price and fuel inflation … While the high-end restaurant segment caters to wealthier people who are less likely to feel the pain of $4 gas and fast-rising grocery bills, casual dining restaurants cater to many of the same people who are being hardest hit by the housing-led economic downturn.” (Reuters, 6/2/08)

Small Businesses Struggling to Keep Doors Open
“The fast paced world of the dry-cleaning business has had a strong clamp on Lynn Sommet for some time now … But lately some bad has crept in courtesy of high gas prices. ‘Just like everywhere else, the prices have just jumped, almost doubled,’ said Sommet. Keeping garments pressed and cleaned takes lots of energy.” (WALB (GA) News, 6/3/08)

How much more can Connecticut families take?:
Deep Concern over Increased Costs:
An overwhelming majority of Americans are deeply concerned about the drastic increase in cost they would bear as a result of the National Energy Tax.  Seventy-seven percent of Americans said they are concerned that federal regulation of greenhouse gases could substantially raise the price of things they have to pay for.
(Source: ABC News/Washington Post; conducted April 21-24, 2009; Survey of 1,072 Adults Nationwide)

A new study shows the devastating effects the National Energy Tax will have on the economy:
•    Gasoline prices would skyrocket by 74 percent
•    Natural gas prices would rise by 55 percent
•    The annual energy bill for an average family would increase by $1,500
(William W. Beach, David Kreutzer, Ph.D., Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and Ben Lieberman, Heritage Foundation WebMemo #2450, “Son of Waxman-Markey: More Politics Makes for a More Costly Bill,” May 18, 2009)

View the text of the amendment offered by Rep. Lee Terry here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090519/hr2454_I_terry.pdf