LatinaLista — Democratic Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis represents California’s 32nd Congressional District. The Congresswoman has been instrumental in creating legislation that has addressed issues important to Latinos: H.R. 359 – Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act of 2007, H.R. 468, Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2007, H.R. 1103 – Environmental Justice Act of 2007 and the H.R. 542 – Culturally Competent Veteran Care Act, to name a few.
Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis
In an exclusive post for Latina Lista readers, Congresswoman Solis draws the line for accountability in the nation’s oil woes and shares her hopes in how the country can turn around pro-oil policies and help all families in the process.
Eight years of pro-oil company policies such as those advocated by President Bush, Senator McCain and their colleagues have left hard-working families paying record prices at the pump while oil companies make record profits. Rather than protect consumers, Republicans continue to push for more drilling — a failed policy — and against efforts to protect consumers from price gouging.
Pro-oil company policies have left our families struggling. Latino families are among the hardest hit by the economic downturn. A recent nationwide survey commissioned by AARP clearly showed that Latino families are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the lack of economic security, the housing crisis, and the lack of health care.
Eighty percent of Latinos surveyed are struggling to pay for daily necessities such as food, gas and medicine. A November 2007 study by the Public Policy Institute of California notes that 83 percent of Latinos surveyed said gas prices have caused them financial hardship as opposed to 67 percent of Blacks, 62 percent of Asians and 54 percent of whites surveyed. Conditions have only worsened as the cost of oil has broken record prices in 2008.
Tax breaks and secret meetings are just the tip of the pro-oil company policies.
The fact is that oil companies currently possess more than 10,000 permits to drill in 68 million acres of land and sea open to drilling. Instead of producing the oil, they are withholding this product from the market at a time when families are suffering.
We must force oil companies to produce the oil they possess or lose it. We must stop the gouging of consumers. And we must ensure that alternatives like transit are not hurt by increasing fuel prices.
I am proud that Democrats are taking steps today to help consumers. Legislation being considered today will invest $1.7 billion in transit, a critical option for families and others who are struggling. This legislation also increases the Federal cost share of grants for parking and creates a pilot program for vanpool projects in both rural and urban areas.
Transit can save the average household $6,251 each year at a time when skyrocketing fuel and food costs and a housing foreclosure crisis are straining families’ budgets. Other legislation being considered today will force oil companies to produce the oil in the leases which have already been approved or give it back so someone else can.
Democrats have enacted historic legislation to reduce our nation’s dependence on oil. Today we continue the fight for consumers and a secure energy future.
Yet the question remains: Will our Republican colleagues join us to protect consumers or continue the drill-only anti-consumer legacy of the Bush Administration?
Let’s hope they join us today – working families across the country deserve nothing less.