Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript

CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Gephardt Blasts Bush Energy Proposal

Aired May 17, 2001 - 10:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN CNN ANCHOR: Democrats, of course, criticizing the Bush energy plan as beneficial for big oil, but bad for the environment. So Democrats launched a counter-plan yesterday. They say it offers the long-term solution to the nation's energy woes. Today congressional Democrats will respond to Mr. Bush's energy plan.

For more, let's go to our Jeanne Meserve in Washington.

Jeanne, good morning.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.

Democrats have not been shy about issuing scathing reviews of the president's energy plan, even before it has officially been released. Right now, they're about to launch a press conference up on Capitol Hill. Dick Gephardt now going to the podium. We hear this press conference is going to feature some real people from the state of California -- let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: ... California. Glad to have you with us.

We are pleased to have a chance to talk to you from the Democratic power room, where all day we're going to be talking with the American people about the differences between the president's energy plan and our own.

We think the president's plan makes the wrong choices for America and for the American people. It was crafted behind closed doors with a lot of input from energy executives and in a highly secretive way that doesn't serve the public interest.

It focuses on drilling and production at the expense of our environment and conservation, and it does nothing to help people who need relief right now, as you're going to hear in just a moment.

I was in San Diego a week or so ago, and I know that this crisis is having a very painful impact on people's lives. Small businesses are going bankrupt. Families have no way of paying their energy bills. Rolling blackouts are a matter of life and death for people on respirators. Consider this: If milk had gone up as much as energy prices in California in recent months, Californians would be paying $190 a gallon for milk.

We have a responsibility and an obligation to act on these issues. Democratic caucus members and I will be in Los Angeles and San Francisco later this month, where we will do everything we can, as we are today, to understand this crisis, so we're better equipped to respond to people's everyday concerns.

We have a long-term plan that increases supply, invests in conservation and maintains our environment. But we also have a short- term solution that asks federal regulators to investigate allegations of price gouging and restore some sanity to the huge increases in prices at the pump and in the home.

Today, we're very grateful to have three people taking part in this event from San Diego, people the president and vice president have not listened to and have not included in their energy task force. Patty Finnegan (ph) runs an ice cream business in San Diego. Michael Brunker is executive director of a local YMCA. And Jaime Salazar (ph) is an education counselor at Southwestern Community College.

We're going to ask them to talk about the impact of this crisis on their everyday lives. I want to thank them for joining with us today, and I want to start by calling on Patty Finnegan (ph), who's going to say a few words about....

MESERVE: And you're listening to Majority Leader Dick Gephardt on Capitol Hill, continuing the barrage of criticism from Democrats of the president's energy plan. What they say is that this was formulated behind closed doors by people with connections to the energy industry. They're highly critical of the fact that it dwells on the production side of things, rather than reducing demand.

Gephardt saying that this is affecting people immediately, that small businesses are facing bankruptcy, that blackouts are a matter of life and death for some people. He says a short-term approach is needed that might include investigating allegations of price gouging and also restoring what he calls sanity to the prices set at the pump and at home.

Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: Jeanne, at least out of the box on this one it seems the Democrats have seized the short-term part of the argument, and even yesterday you started hearing the president use words like, this does have some short-term solutions in his plan.

MESERVE: Oh, it's definitely true that this has been a very effective argument by the Democrats, and it's created a little bit of anxiety amongst Republicans on Capitol Hill. There is, after all, a congressional election coming up in just two years. This is an issue that affects every American, the Republicans and the Democrats know full well that this could have an impact on how people vote in the booth. And so now you're hearing from House Republicans, some more talk about short-term solutions, and you've heard the president address that fact.

On a couple of different areas you've seen the White House respond in the days before this energy plan has been released to criticism from the democratic side. One thing being pointed to today, the heavy emphasis in this plan on conservation and alternative forms of energy. This is something the Democrats have been stressing for weeks.

Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: Jeanne Meserve in Washington, thank you.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

 Search   


Back to the top