Bush rejects short term fixes for energy problems
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A White House spokesman voiced concerns Monday over rising gasoline prices but said President Bush would resist "the siren song" of quick fixes such as price controls or suspending the federal gas tax.
The spokesman said the president would instead push his long-term plan to increase energy exploration and build more refineries.
A White House energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney is finishing a report that will call for more domestic exploration, for more power plants and refineries, and for promotion of nuclear power.
But White House press secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledged none of those proposals would offer immediate relief.
"The president has never sought a quick fix because quick fixes don't work," Fleischer said.
He said the president was concerned about rising gas prices because "it is tantamount to a tax increase on the American people."
Fleischer reminded reporters, however, that during last year's campaign Bush opposed efforts to suspend all or some of the federal gas tax as a temporary way of easing prices at the pump. He said there had been no change in position.
When reminded that Bush had abandoned his initial position on tax cuts to accept the "quick fix" of a retroactive cut this year, Fleischer said, "You can easily enact a retroactive tax cut; you can't retroactively build refineries."
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