Reid, McConnell Promote Energy Plans at Home

Posted July 2, 2008 at 12:52pm

Amid the record-breaking gas prices, the top two Senate leaders are taking advantage of their time back home to tout energy proposals that they argue would reduce the burden on consumers.

In Nevada, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) is stressing the need for alternative energy sources that will decrease the demand for foreign oil. Reid has been insisting on a renewable energy focus, as opposed to oil drilling and other suggestions offered by Republicans, as the way to proceed.

On Monday, Reid opened a solar thermal manufacturing facility in Las Vegas, where he linked new energy technology to job growth.

“This facility will help position our state as the premier place to invest in these new technologies,” said Reid. “As the factory expands operations and we continue to invest in clean energy, we’ll create thousands of good-paying jobs and keep our outdoors pristine for future generations.”

That same day, Reid created a political firestorm when he said on Fox Business News, “Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick.”

The Reid comment was quickly posted on YouTube, where it shot up to the No. 3 most popular clip by Tuesday afternoon.

Republicans promptly attacked Reid for being out of step with most voters, noting that the public polling has shifted in their favor to produce domestic oil.

Reid also plans to take a tour of the General Electric power facility and a biofuel plant in northern Nevada on Wednesday afternoon. An aide to Reid said the Majority Leader has no plans to fundraise or campaign for himself or other Democrats during the weeklong recess.

Like Reid, McConnell is traveling in his home state of Kentucky to make the case for energy legislation.

A spokeswoman for the Republican leader said that McConnell is meeting with constituents throughout the week to discuss the skyrocketing oil prices and what he plans to do to reduce prices at the pump. McConnell has no official campaign events but is getting much-needed face time with voters. McConnell also plans to be in a July Fourth parade in northern Kentucky.