Asked his reaction to congressional Republicans' pressing legislation that would require Obama to approve the Canada-to-Gulf of Mexico oil pipeline project before he could tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as he did last summer, Carney said Republicans had "essentially forced" the president to hold up the permitting process by insisting on a time frame that made it "impossible to appropriately approve the pipeline."
"There wasn't even an alternate route proposed yet through Nebraska. An alternate that was deemed necessary based on the request of many in Nebraska, including the Republican governor," Carney said. "So the fact that the process had ended the way it did in terms of that permit request is wholly the responsibility of the Republicans who insisted on playing politics with the payroll tax cut extension back at the end of last year."
Republicans, he said, "were the ones, unfortunately, who decided, because they were looking for scalps ... I guess, or looking for wins in a situation where somehow they found themselves on the wrong side of cutting taxes for 160 million Americans last December, they decided to play politics with this decision and attach it to the payroll tax cut extension."
Carney noted domestic oil production has gone up each year of the Obama administration and, while giving a nod to the policies of his Republican predecessor, noted production is at its highest level in eight years.
"There are no magic solutions to rising oil prices and -- and the pain that Americans feel at the pump," he said. "... The fact is that the president is very aware of the impact that the global price of oil has on families and -- and this is not something that this administration discovered or rediscovers every spring, as some politicians do."
Carney said the administration has opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, moved to increase fuel efficiency standards, approved new nuclear power plant reactor development and is encouraging expansion of alternative sources of fuel.
"That's the kind of approach we have to take to ensure our economic future," he said.
Texas principal bans speaking Spanish, stirs controversy
Man spent 15 hours in jail for plugging electric car into an outlet at a school