The new back and forth going on in Congress is between GOP and Democratic claims on our nation's level of energy production. From the White House down, Democrats claim that we are producing the most energy since the last high mark in 2003.
The New York Times writes:
With gas prices soaring, Congressional Republicans are clamoring for more domestic energy production, echoing the theme of an impromptu 2008 protest when Republicans occupied the floor of the House during the summer recess to demand that Congress lift a ban on drilling off of much of the nation’s coastline.
At a press conference on Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner said Republicans were moving ahead with an umbrella initiative that would seek to spur more domestic energy production and end federal policies he said were contributing to rising gas costs.
“Through the American Energy Initiative, we will work to help lower gas prices, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs,” Mr. Boehner said.
From Speaker Boehner's website:
Obama Administration policies have caused domestic oil production to drop by 16 percent versus projected levels, and future projections show continued decreases in domestic production and more foreign imports.
The House Natural Resources Committee explains:
According to the House Natural Resources Committee, in 2007 the Energy Information Agency projected that total American oil production in 2010 would be 850 million barrels. After President Obama’s energy freeze – including canceled leases and a de facto moratorium on energy exploration – the actual number is 714 million barrels – or 16 percent less than had been projected before President Obama took office. Less American energy production means higher energy prices. Learn more here.
The Democrats who run Washington have been very clear about their desire to see energy prices rise. President Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar famously said he wouldn’t support drilling for new energy even if gas prices reached $10 per gallon. His Energy Secretary Steven Chu once told the Wall Street Journal “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” (where today a gallon of gas costs almost $8). The president himself once admitted his national energy tax would cause utility rates to “necessarily skyrocket.”
Speaker Boehner and House Republicans launched the American Energy Initiative. House Natural Resources Committee chairman Hastings put out this statement on the new initiative:
“One of the most effective ways Congress can create American jobs and lower gasoline prices is to expand production of our own American resources. Unfortunately, due to the Obama Administration, we are years behind where we should be. President Obama has repeatedly taken action to lock-up our American energy resources. This is costing American jobs, enabling energy prices to rise and jeopardizing our national security.
“The Natural Resources Committee is focused on how to responsibly develop our resources to meet our Nation’s energy needs and create jobs. The Committee has scheduled a series of hearings on this issue that will focus on harnessing our American resources to address rising gasoline prices, the impacts of the President’s de facto moratorium in the Gulf, and onshore energy production.
“As part of the American Energy Initiative, we’re also working on an array of specific proposals within our Committee’s jurisdiction. The initial bills will be introduced very, very soon.”
Energy production is down, despite what the administration is trying to claim. The continued strategy of this administration is to squelch domestic offshore oil and gas drilling. This strategy continues to kill jobs, close down small businesses along the Gulf coast and create uncertainty within the business community on hiring projections. The unrest in the middle east continues to wreck havoc on the stock market. Gas prices are rising at the pump and goods purchased reflect rising energy prices, including groceries. Not all Americans are affected by stock market losses or Wall Street unemployment but all Americans do need to purchase groceries and have the necessity of transportation.
The White House announced late Thursday evening that Obama will hold a press conference Friday and a topic is the rise in energy prices. Stay tuned.