Republicans Push for More Drilling; It's All They've Got
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 12:28:14 PM EDT
With oil prices topping $75 per barrel and gasoline costing consumers more and more at the pump, Republicans in Congress know they have to do something or else face the wrath of voters in November. But what is their only solution to the energy crunch? More drilling, of course! Jim Snyder has the story for The Hill.
Four Senate committee chairmen will suggest new energy legislation to GOP leaders by next week, as negotiations continue over a bill to allow more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a high priority for business lobbyists.
Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is pushing for a small bill limited to opening oil and gas drilling in an area known as Lease 181, in the eastern gulf. An aide said the senator believes the bill is the quickest way to expand fuel supplies and ease prices.
Americans have seen the drilling-first energy policy of the Bush administration and the Republican Congress in action for several years now, and by and large they have come to the conclusion that it is a wholly failed strategy. According to a recent Gallup poll, when asked who they believe "would do a better job of dealing with" gas prices, Americans favor Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress by a staggering 52 percent to 22 percent margin. A CBS News poll conducted in June found that just 18 percent of Americans -- and just 12 percent of independent voters -- approve of how George W. Bush is handling gas prices.
Energy and gas prices are big winning issues for the Democrats. And if Pete Domenici and the rest of the Do Nothing Republican Congress believe that they can win back some voters with more of the same -- another piece of legislation authorizing drilling for oil -- they are terribly mistaken.