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Schumer Proposes Putting Pressure On Saudi Arabia Over Oil

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At the Hess on 44th Street and Tenth Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday, the gas price stood at $3.81 per gallon for regular, which had Senator Charles Schumer speaking up.

"We all know how the price of gasoline is through the roof," said New York's senior senator. "We all know how it's burning a hole in everyone's wallets and pocket books. And we all know how it's crimping our economy."

He and four other senators are calling on the Bush administration to use its leverage with members of OPEC to force them to increase oil supplies.

"There is one way to get the prices of oil down and it's two words -- Saudi Arabia," said Schumer.

Schumer proposes holding up multi-billion dollar arms deals with the Saudis unless they put more oil into circulation. He says the Saudi Arabia has been cutting back production the past few years, leading to a drop in supply, increased prices, and more money in the Saudis pockets.

He says the United States should insist that they increase exports so the nation gets back to levels it saw in 2005.

"If they were to increase 800,000 barrel every day, the price would come down probably 35 to 50 cents a gallon," said Schumer. "That's a lot."

The price of gas was also a key talking point for both Democratic presidential candidates Sunday.
Senator Hillary Clinton shook off economists' heavy criticisms of her plan to suspend the gas tax this summer.

"We need some short-term immediate relief to try to help people who are paying the bills today, because there are too many people trying to decide between gas and groceries," said Clinton.

Senator Barack Obama again challenged Clinton's plan, calling it a Washington gimmick, which will only hurt consumers in the long run.

"The average driver would save 30 cents per day for a grand total of $28," said Obama. "That's assuming that the oil companies don't step and raise prices by the same amount that the prices have been reduced. And, by the way, I have some experience on this, because in Illinois we tried this when I was in the state legislature and that's exactly what happened."

One thing is for sure, unless something is done, more people are figuring out ways to cut corners in order to make ends meet.

"Either you're going to ride to get milk, or you are going to get gas and not be able to get milk," said one driver.

"They're sinful," said another. "They should be against the law. It's ridiculous."

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says the last thing the United States needs is to be more dependent on foreign oil.

She added that the Democrats have blocked efforts to have environmentally-responsible exploration and production in the U.S.

- Lindley Pless
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