Saturday, July 26, 2008

Boehner Column: "It's Time for the U.S. House to Vote on Meaningful Energy Reform"

The next time you fill up at the gas station consider this: The U.S. House of Representatives has not been allowed to vote on meaningful energy reforms in more than a month. There have been several sham votes – such as one recently to replace 70 million barrels of easily refined oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) with oil that is much more difficult to process – but nothing that would help get out us out of this situation. Seventy million barrels of oil would meet our energy needs for about three days, and then we’re right back to where we are today. That’s not a solution; that’s not even a band-aid.

Our job responsibilities as congressional representatives include voting on legislation. In 2007, there were 1,186 roll call votes in which you can track how individual lawmakers voted; so far in 2008, there have been 533 recorded votes. As of Friday, July 25, the House has held 62 roll-call votes this month. Not a single one of those votes has done a single thing to help bring down gas prices.

And the Democratic leaders who control the House have indicated they will take the traditional August recess without letting the House vote on long-term solutions for what ails you – high gas prices. The Washington Post editorialized, “Instead of dealing with the issue on the merits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a staunch opponent of offshore drilling, has simply decreed that she will not allow a drilling vote to take on the House floor.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such cynical and petty politics play out in the House. The American people are crying out, demanding their lawmakers take action to help – help lower fuel prices, help get us off our addiction to foreign oil and help create programs and incentives to bring alternative fuels online.

A colleague of mine recently said, “Politicians do not see the light; they feel the heat.” I don’t know how much more clear it could be that the American public is indeed bringing down the heat on their representatives to do something; and that includes letting us vote on meaningful, long-term energy solutions.

House Republicans recently introduced our energy strategy – the American Energy Act – that is a comprehensive measure to help reduce gas prices by harnessing new technologies, encouraging greater conservation and efficiency, and increasing American energy production in an environmentally-safe way. I recently visited Alaska’s remote North Slope where vast American energy resources sit untouched as well as nearby Prudhoe Bay, which uses 1970s technology to pull oil from the ground. I can tell you that I have seen with my own eyes wildlife and oil production coexisting.

But instead of letting us vote on the American Energy Act, Pelosi and her lieutenants are trying to run out the clock. Chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees who are charged with moving spending bills to keep the federal government running have stopped their committee work because Republican lawmakers kept offering amendments to help lower fuel costs. We’re looking at situation in which both the House and Senate will leave for August recess without passing a single spending bill. That hasn’t happened since at least 1950.

My Republican colleagues and I continue to look for ways to force the House to vote on meaningful energy reform, not band-aid measures that don’t create new American energy and help wean us off foreign oil. It’s time for Democratic leaders to stop listening to radical special-interest groups that favor high gas prices, and hear the cries of the millions of energy-strapped American families who are crying out for help.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

any chance of finding out how much Americans will save at the pump if the restricted areas are opened to drilling?

Bloomberg says the prices are down because supplies are up and demand is down. Do you think that's true?