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The missive from rank-and-file Democrats is the third sent to Boehner this week; both Pelosi and President Barack Obama have sent their own letters to the Speaker on the same issue. Obama’s letter, sent to a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, noted that “we simply can’t afford” to issue oil subsidies; however, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday that the proposal outlined in Obama’s budget “would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.”
House Republicans are also taking their own steps, lining up consideration next week of a bill that would expedite the permitting process for oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Republicans have hit the Obama administration on the issue since last year, when Obama enforced a temporary moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill. While Obama eventually lifted the deep-water drilling ban, Republicans have maintained the administration has not moved quickly enough to grant permits to oil companies, a message that freshman Rep. James Lankford (Okla.) will reiterate when he delivers the GOP response to the president’s weekly address Saturday.
The National Republican Congressional Committee launched its own media assault in March on energy policy, and in recent weeks, GOP lawmakers have asserted that Obama’s budget proposal would amount to tax increases for private industry.