Democrats to President: More Pressure, Please

May 20, 2004
10:38 AM
This weekend, Energy Secretary Abraham will attend the International Energy Forum in Amsterdam, a high-level, informal ministerial that brings together both energy producing and energy consuming countries to discuss the world’s energy problems. The meeting will be held May 22-24, and OPEC representatives are expected to participate. Senate Democrats are urging the President to use every means at its disposal to bring down energy costs. Here is the letter that 38 senators sent today to President Bush, calling on the Administration to exert diplomatic pressure on OPEC to increase oil supplies. The President The White House Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: During your Presidential campaign in 2000 you said the following when asked about high energy prices and Presidential action: "What I think the President ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. The President of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the (oil) price." As you are aware, one of the many recommendations my Democratic colleagues and other members have urged on you is to exert diplomatic pressure on OPEC members to increase oil production. Despite repeated calls for Administration action in this area, we have yet to see much in the way of concrete results. This weekend, your Secretary of Energy will travel to Amsterdam, to attend the 9th International Energy Forum. This meeting will provide the Secretary with an opportunity to talk with OPEC representatives about the current tightness in oil markets. Several OPEC ministers have said this week that they will use the Amsterdam meeting to discuss the current oil supply situation and the high level of oil prices. Some analysts believe that the group will consider, during the Amsterdam forum, Saudi Arabia's proposal to raise OPEC’s production ceiling by 1.5 million barrels per day above the current level of 23.5 million barrels per day. We hope that Secretary Abraham will support such an effort and use the opportunity for bilateral meetings with OPEC ministers to further voice our concern about the effect that high energy prices are having on American consumers and our nation’s economy. Secretary Abraham should exert diplomatic pressure on OPEC to increase oil supplies during his visit. We are hopeful that Secretary Abraham can get a commitment from OPEC to raise production immediately. Sincerely, Akaka Bayh Bingaman Boxer Cantwell Clinton Conrad Corzine Daschle Dayton Dodd Dorgan Durbin Edwards Feingold Feinstein Graham Inouye Jeffords Johnson Kennedy Kohl Landrieu Lautenberg Leahy Levin Lieberman Lincoln Mikulski Murray Pryor Reed Reid Rockefeller Sarbanes Schumer Stabenow Wyden