Morning Action: Gas Prices on an Upward Trajectory, National Security in Potential Jeopardy

GAS PRICES.  During his Google hangout last week, President Obama explained his plans to combat global warming would mean “energy is going to be a little more expensive.”  Consumers are getting a sneak peak at the policies, as gas prices increased for 32 consecutive days (sub. req’d):

Prices at U.S. gasoline pumps have climbed for 32 consecutive days to a four-month high, as refinery closures cut output and higher crude prices raise costs.

The national retail gasoline price has risen 43 cents, or 13%, to $3.73 a gallon since Jan. 17, according to the Automobile Association of America.

Traders anticipate “a little bit of chaos” if scheduled refinery maintenance runs up against the annual changeover from winter to summer gasoline grades, said Tom Kloza, an analyst with Oil Price Information Service.

HAGEL. One Wall Street Journal op-ed (sub. req’d) cuts through the spin on Chuck Hagel:

Now some Republicans are saying that a president deserves an up-or-down vote on his cabinet picks. That sounds like a stand on principle, but it’s political capitulation. To quote someone who knows something about this:

“The vote we are about to take . . . is about whether the Senate will allow the President to dictate to a co-equal branch of government how . . . to fulfill our constitutional responsibility under the advice and consent clause. It is that basic. I believe it is totally unacceptable for the President of the United States, Democrat or Republican—and both have tried—to dictate to the Senate how he, the president, thinks we should proceed.”

That was Joe Biden, voting against cloture for Mr. Bolton. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Republicans have a duty to stop a manifestly unqualified nominee.

REPUBLICAN RETIRING. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) will not seek re-election in 2014.  Nebraska is a solidly red state where Republicans hold all the Congressional seats.  Republican candidates are lining up, including Gov. Dave Heineman and U.S. Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry.   Check out the congressional delegation’s Heritage Action scores.

SEQUESTER. Today, President Obama will pressure the GOP to avoid the sequester.  However, the Hill reports that GOP lawmakers don’t fear the political impact of the sequester taking effect:

Conservative groups have also kept pressure on lawmakers, urging them not to waiver from their stance and predicting political advantage from the cuts taking effect.

“If [Republicans] don’t shy away from this, if they don’t run from their own shadows and they don’t [buckle] at the last minute, I think it’s a battle they can win,” conservative Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said.

“The reason [Republicans] lose the battling war to the president so often is they can’t get themselves on a clear path as to where they want to go – this is pretty easy, this is law,” he added.

ACTION: Connect with conservatives in your area with Heritage Action’s Dashboard.

** The House and Senate are in recess this week **

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Gas prices keep rising, but Obama is okay with that.

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