Senate Majority Project

Thursday, November 17, 2005

“Oil-in” Hatch Flips Out

If you ever want to really make Orrin Hatch doggone mad, apparently all it takes is criticizing oil companies. Yesterday on the Senate floor, Hatch rushed to the defense of the poor oil companies, who had a bad day after it was reported that several executives lied to a Senate committee. Orrin said that the big problem today isn’t the fact that oil companies are making record profits while families are paying record high prices. It’s the criticism that the poor companies have to face on the “stinking” senate floor. Question oil company profits? Those are fighting words. Heres a few of the more choice moments from his rant:

Everyday we have people coming around here giving these populist talks about how we have to bring oil and gas prices down, and yet they make it almost impossible to do it. Come on, America, wake up. I am sick of it. I used to be in the oil business. I know how hard it is.

I think it is time to get rid of the populist talk and start talking reality. It is nice to come out and beat up the oil companies who are making great profits, but who would use those profits if they could to develop more of their products.

I think it is very unfair for my colleagues, as much as I admire you, it is very unfair to come on this floor and brand the oil companies as a bunch of antipatriotic companies

I get tired of the populist rhetoric on the other side of the aisle that never gives any consideration to how difficult it is to be in this business. I don't have any financial interest in oil. All I can say is that I have been there, I know what it is like. Of course, these companies are out to make money

I don't believe that oil companies should make excessive profits that they are unwilling to use for furthering their business interests either, but if they are given a chance to use them and go out and get more oil for us and more gas for us, they are going to do it. But every step of the way, they are stymied by the very people here who have been complaining.
Following Hatch’s outburst, Sen. Dorgan summed up:
I would much prefer to see a colleague of mine agitated about the price of energy in a full-scale agitation about what this is doing to consumers, agitated about what it is going to do when somebody on a fixed income cannot figure out a way to heat their home this winter. I would much sooner see a colleague agitated about that than having just come fresh yesterday from, as he described, a meeting with a major oil company, come to make the case for the major oil companies on the Senate floor, and say: You know what the problem is in this country? It is those populists dripping with venom… “When you hit someone over the head with a book and get a hollow sound, it doesn't mean the book is empty.''
Crooks and Liars has video of the most bizarre moment.