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BREAKING 4-25-08 Landrieu, Senators Vow to Block Arms Deals with Certain OPEC Members
Friday, Apr 25, 2008 8:16pm

WASHINGTON, DC  (By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor, Talk of the Town)  BREAKING POLITICS 11:30am  4-25-08   Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and five other Senators vow to block future arms deals with OPEC countries that are producing well below their capacity. With U.S. gas prices averaging $3.50 per gallon and higher, Americans are paying more than ever to fill up their cars. 

That's why Senator Landrieu and her fellow senators
called on the Bush Administration to use its leverage with the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil supplies or risk Congress holding up multi-million dollar arms deals with OPEC members including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.  

“As gas prices go up, the impact reverberates through our entire economy,”  Sen. Landrieu said.  “It not only hits American drivers at the pump, it increases manufacturing and transportation costs which affect the price on almost every product we buy.  All the while, foreign powers with their hands on the spigot choose to artificially limit production to keep costs high – and the Administration rewards them for it." 

Landrieu continued,  "It’s time to stand strong and bring balance to this equation.  We also need to boost energy production here at home so our economy is not as easily held hostage to foreign interests.  Louisiana and its neighbors are America’s only Energy Coast and are proud to do our part to fuel the nation.” 

The letter, sent today, urges the President to be tough with OPEC allies and not grant huge arms deals without action to relieve the economic pains taxpayers are feeling. The letter was also signed by Senators Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Bernie Sanders I-Vt., Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. 

Sen. Schumer said: “The Saudis have to understand this is a two-way street. We provide them weapons, our troops provide them protection, and then they rake us over the coals when it comes to oil. The Saudis and Big Oil are in cahoots and this Administration has coddled them both for far too long.” 

Sen. Dorgan said: “U.S. and Saudi Arabia have had a strategic alliance for decades which anticipates that they pump sufficient oil to meet the needs of our economy and our economic growth.  And we provide strategic military support in the form of military equipment needed for their security."

"In the past couple of years, however, the Saudis as part of the OPEC cartel have reduced their production allowing the price of oil to go to near $120 per barrel which has caused real damage to our economy," Dorgan said, "Yet the Saudis expect the United States to sell them strategic military equipment to bolster their security." 

"I think if the Saudis expect us to fulfill their requirement for strategic military goods to provide for their security they have a requirement to be pumping sufficient oil to provide for our economic security,” said Dorgan.

Sen. Casey said: “The Bush Administration has not shown leadership and has not used all tools at their disposal to put pressure on OPEC nations to increase production to provide relief from record oil prices," said Senator Casey.

"In addition to record prices at the pump, Americans are shouldering a greater burden because Iraq's oil-producing neighbors are not living up to their pledges of support for Iraq reconstruction and debt relief,” Casey concluded.

Sen. Sanders said: “We have a national crisis in terms of outrageously high energy prices.  If the Saudi’s and other OPEC countries continue to refuse to increase supply, the President should ban arms sales to them.  If they still refuse to increase production, the President should work to break-up OPEC.”

Sen. Klobuchar said: “Just as our gas prices are skyrocketing, the administration has fallen asleep at the wheel. We need a foreign policy that looks at every option that could help us bring these prices down.”

 


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