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Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton: Where Is the Leadership?

2:56 PM EDT on April 30, 2008

pumphead.jpegJoining Hillary Clinton in the push to reduce the federal gas tax is fellow New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who has railed about gas prices at least since they "soared" to $1.59 per gallon.

As Politico reports, rather than talking about climate change and auto dependence, Schumer is pushing a Democratic plan to go after "Wall Street speculators, OPEC, price gougers and Big Oil":

[R]egardless of the legislative realities — not to mention thefutility of promising short-term decreases in gas prices — Democratshave embraced a political opportunity. By proposing aggressivelegislation that takes on the boogeymen of the oil tycoons andprofiteering speculators, Democrats are trying to corner Republicansinto choosing between a president who is chummy with the oil industryand a decidedly populist energy bill.

“We need to stop the speculation” that’s driving up oil prices, saidSen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who has been involved in discussions withDemocratic leaders who debated energy policy at a closed-door lunchTuesday. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) promised “short-term relief andlong-term relief” and insisted that “Big Oil should pay” for anysuspension of gas taxes.

As Politico points out, the main elements of the plan, which include substituting gas tax revenues with new taxes on oil companies, investigating price gouging, and diverting oil from national reserves to increase supply, are mostly long shots and short-term fixes. Why can't Schumer and Clinton take a cue from the New York City Model of transit oriented development and show some true leadership?

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