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Sen. Hutchison hits Obama on job growth, high gas prices

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) tried to further the Republican narrative that the president and the Democrat-controlled Senate are impeding job growth and causing a spike in the cost of gasoline.

“The key to moving from a monthly trickle of jobs to a tidal wave of growth is getting obstacles out of the way of our small businesses – they are our job creators,” Hutchison said in the weekly Republican address.

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The Texas senator cited four bills passed by the House that she says have bipartisan support and have been “endorsed in concept” by the president but have been “bottled up for months in the Democrat-controlled Senate.”

GOP leadership has consistently pointed to House-passed legislation that it claims is designed to boost job growth, but which the Senate has failed to act on.

Democrats dispute that bills are purely jobs-related.

Hutchison also hit the president on the more recent issue of rising gas prices.

“We can’t slow down global demand for oil and gas, but we can do a lot more here at home to assure that we have the energy we need and to halt skyrocketing costs,” she said. “But President Obama’s policy has resulted in an unprecedented slowdown in new exploration and production of oil and gas.”

In his weekly address, Obama pushed back against charges that his administration is slowing the flow of domestic oil.

"Now, we absolutely need safe, responsible oil production here in America. That’s why under my Administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years," Obama said. "In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50% for the first time in more than a decade."

Hutchison said a reduction in offshore drilling permits and fewer leases on public land for oil drilling has led to higher gas prices, and also “takes away jobs form tens of thousands of oil industry workers.”

“The same is true for the Keystone pipeline,” she continued. “It would produce thousands of good-paying construction jobs and tens of thousands more at U.S. refineries and suppliers. That pipeline would assure the U.S. of 830,000 barrels of oil daily…after four years of environmental reviews and regulatory approvals, the Obama Administration is still stalling.”

The Keystone Pipeline has been a tricky political issue for the Obama administration. Most polls show the pipeline has popular support, however the environmental faction of Obama’s backers is staunchly opposed to the project.

On Friday, the Obama administration announced “provisions to ease pain at the pump,” which would “make it easier for businesses to invest in energy solutions that will make them more energy efficient and competitive.”