US vice-president Joe Biden creates &apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos&apos’ a distraction with national security meeting, GOP Sen. Patrick Kennedy says
President Barack Obama’s top security advisers want the White House to create a national security meeting after congressional critics hit him for failing to take decisive action to address rising gasoline prices, Republican Senator Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island said on Thursday.
The US vice-president, Joe Biden, is organising the meeting between the Obama administration and top lawmakers concerned about the high cost of gasoline, Kennedy said in a telephone interview.
“And they are still adding to the turmoil at home, in Europe, they are worrying now about the disruptions in the Middle East,” said Kennedy, who co-authored legislation the administration has pledged to enforce when it becomes law.
Biden is asking Democratic and Republican senators to round up additional signatures to the letter calling on Obama to immediately approve a pipeline from Canada’s oil sands to Texas refineries, Kennedy said.
It would be the latest in a series of measures aimed at easing rising gasoline prices, which rose to $3.96 a gallon on Thursday, a 12-year high. The US average exceeds $3.50 in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and several New England states.
“He will call on them to not filibuster on the energy bill that we introduced in October,” Kennedy said.
The House of Representatives and Senate have passed bills to approve the pipeline project to carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to refineries in Texas. The House will take up its version of the bill in a few weeks.
The White House recently played down the importance of the pipeline proposal for economic and environmental reasons, arguing the fuel is far more expensive than imports from Mexico and Venezuela.
Most of the energy produced in the US is from offshore sources, and there are several other methods of transport available.
The White House issued a statement on Thursday saying it welcomed the pipeline debate.
“When prices are high and demand is down, we can continue to take action to address our energy challenges by moving more oil from the coast, including the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. We will make a final decision on whether to approve that project later this spring,” the statement said.