GOP Pushes ‘All of the Above’

Posted July 21, 2008 at 4:30pm

In a move aimed at pressuring Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to relent in her opposition to offshore drilling, House Republican leaders on Wednesday will unveil a comprehensive energy package and continue to demand an up-or-down vote on it until Congress adjourns for the August recess.

GOP leaders on Tuesday will send a memo to their Members outlining the strategy for pushing their “all-of-the-above” energy plan aimed at decreasing record gas prices in a single piece of legislation. The bill will bring together a mix of provisions aimed at increasing the supply of domestic energy, improving conservation efforts and promoting new technologies.

But Democratic leadership aides dismissed the forthcoming GOP proposal as a repackaging of the same old ideas.

“They may call it an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan, but it looks like the ‘all-too-familiar’ Bush-Cheney failed energy policies that got us to the $4-a-gallon gas prices today,” said Pelosi press secretary Drew Hammill.

Specifically, the package will include bills that have served as the focus of discharge petitions over the past several weeks. It will also include provisions calling for new offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

“House Republicans will stand together beginning today and demand that the Democratic leadership hold a vote on this legislation to increase American-made energy before Congress adjourns for the month of August,” the memo states.

The memo blasts Democratic leaders for being beholden to “the whims of radical special-interest groups” and accuses Pelosi of continuing to “stand in the way of lower gas prices” by opposing new offshore drilling.

The memo is from the top four Republican leaders: GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio), GOP Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (Va.). Signaling procedural mayhem to come, the memo states that leadership “will use every option at our disposal to force a vote on the ‘all of the above’ energy plan.”

A GOP leadership aide said the strategy of rallying behind the package “really is a win-win” for Republicans.

If Pelosi allows a vote on it, that is “an important policy victory for Republicans,” said the aide. If the Speaker refuses a vote on it, then “she is putting the squeeze on her own Members” as they head home for the August recess.

In related news, House GOP and Democratic leaders on Tuesday will meet separately with T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire oil baron most recently known for his self-promotional television commercials highlighting his latest investment: $300 million in wind energy.

At Pelosi’s request, Pickens, a prominent Bush supporter and major contributor to the 2004 Swift Boat ads that downed then-presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is meeting with the House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday night to talk about gas prices and energy policy. He will meet with GOP leaders earlier that day to discuss the same issues.

Both parties appear to have found a way to co-opt Pickens’ call for more renewable energy investments.

“His message is that you can’t drill your way to energy independence,” said a senior Democratic source. “That dovetails with what we’re saying.”

“We believe his ideas are very consistent with our ‘all of the above’ approach that focuses on more American energy, whether it’s more conservation, more renewable energy, more alternative fuels and more American exploration and production,” said a GOP leadership aide.