Dick Lugar threatens to hold national security hostage

Threatening to hold the entire government hostage to his whims has been a go-to strategy for Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. Just a few months ago, Pence threatened to shut own the government over a small percentage of the budget that went to preventive health care at Planned Parenthood.

Now, Indiana’s elder statesman, Senator Dick Lugar, is threatening to hold national security hostage for a foreign oil company.

Lugar, joined by fellow Republicans Sen. John Hoeven (ND) and prostitute enthusiast David Vitter (LA), introduced the Strategic Petroleum Supplies Act, which would prevent the Obama administration from using the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) unless permits are issued for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.

According to Daniel Weiss, Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund:

In other words, unless the president approves Keystone, he cannot sell our emergency oil — even if Iran causes an oil supply disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, a hurricane or other disaster disables oil production or refining facilities, or any other type of event causes gasoline prices to soar above $4 per gallon. If any of these events happen, middle class Americans would pay significantly higher gasoline pump prices, giving billions of dollars more to big oil companies that made record profits last year.

Dick Lugar was once respected voice on energy policy and national security. When Hillary Clinton was being confirmed as Secretary of State, Lugar said “Energy security must be at the top of our agenda with nearly every country”. [1] And in a 2008 speech, Lugar warned that the next president must not use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for political purposes.

Just last year, Republicans criticized Obama for tapping the SPR as Yemen and Libya reduced their oil production. GOP Speaker Boehner released a statement, reading in part that “the president is using a national security instrument to address his domestic political problems,” and that “This action threatens our ability to respond to a genuine national security crisis.”

I can only assume that Boehner and his fellow Republicans will criticize Lugar for this transparently political ploy.

[1] “Clinton: Energy security a major US foreign policy element.” Oil & Gas Journal. (February 2, 2009 ): 2088 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2012/02/20.