High gas prices are hard to ignore, but somehow Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are doing just that. For months the American people have been calling on Congress to do something about energy costs that are straining American families’ budgets and driving up the price of everything from food to airline tickets. Republicans have been listening. Senate Republicans have spent the past several months pushing for passage of a comprehensive energy package to help lower gas prices and move our nation to a future of clean energy independence.
Any meaningful energy legislation must do two things: find more American energy, and use less. “Find more” means we would increase U.S. oil production by one-third through offshore exploration and Western states’ oil shale. This will over time produce at least 3 million barrels a day. “Use less” means we would reduce imported oil by one-third by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks. This will over time reduce Americans’ use of oil by 4 million barrels a day. Just those three provisions – deep sea exploration, western shale, and plug-in cars – will allow us to cut our oil imports in half. We have a bill to do these things, and it’s supported by 44 Republicans. All Senator Reid has to do is put it on the floor and provide 16 Democratic votes, and we could make real progress toward addressing our energy needs.
Unfortunately, Democrats – in particular the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate – have chosen to ignore the importance of increasing our energy supply by drilling for oil.
While Democratic leaders have changed their tune in recent weeks – driven partly by pressure from polls like the recent Rasmussen poll that indicates seven in 10 Americans support drilling – Democrats like the Speaker of the House are still pushing legislation that won’t do much to increase domestic oil production. (The Democratic bill only allows additional offshore drilling if states permit it, but strips away any incentive to participate by denying those states the standard financial benefits currently given to Louisiana, Texas, and others in the Gulf of Mexico that can drill today.) So they would rather our country beg Saudi Arabia and other countries for more oil when we already have larger reserves than the Saudis offshore and in shale in western states.
Republicans understand that the American people need Congress to do something now. And we will be doing everything we can over the next two weeks to ensure that Congress passes legislation to provide a real solution to America’s energy crisis.