GOP to Unveil Energy Strategy

Posted May 20, 2008 at 3:30pm

Hoping to use the issue as a platform for attacks on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Republican leaders on Tuesday previewed a forthcoming GOP energy agenda that calls for more nuclear power plants and domestic oil drilling as ways to lower gas prices.

GOP leaders are planning to unveil their energy agenda Wednesday as part of a larger strategy to reshape their image on the heels of losses in three straight special elections.

On the energy front, the thrust of their message is that Democratic leaders have failed to produce as promised a comprehensive energy plan aimed at bringing down the skyrocketing cost of gas.

“It’s going to take Republicans” to make the necessary policy changes to lower gas prices, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

Democrats have been “ignoring the calls” of Republicans to take any number of approaches to reducing gas prices, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said.

These possibilities include drilling for oil in the Arctic Natural Wildlife Reserve, a politically explosive option that has already gone down in the Senate; building more nuclear power plants; creating more reliance on biofuels from the Midwest; and using offshore drilling for oil and gas.

“It’s simple high-school economics, folks,” Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said. “Supply and demand. We have resources right here at home.”

House Democratic leaders were quick to shoot down the GOP energy proposal.

“It’s important to note the Republican record on these issues, because this ‘new’ Republican energy policy comes after energy prices have skyrocketed and America’s dependence on foreign oil has only increased, all on Republicans’ watch,” a Democratic Caucus press release said.

America grew more dependent on foreign oil while Congress was under Republican control, Republicans voted to give more subsidies to oil and coal, and many of the “new” GOP proposals are the same things the party has been touting for years, the release said.

“If Republicans are serious … they should begin by working in a bipartisan way with Democrats to craft a solution instead of digging up more of the same stale ideas,” said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Pelosi.

On another front, Boehner would not say whether Republicans were planning to derail the war supplemental bill a second time in protest of the measure including unrelated domestic spending items and Iraq policy provisions.

The GOP leader said he, for one, would not support a supplemental that comes back from the Senate with war funding tied to other provisions.

“I am not going to vote to put restrictions on our troops’ ability to succeed,” Boehner said.