10.01.2008 0

Day 39: Reinforcements Arrive to Bolster GOP Offensive

  • On: 10/22/2008 12:19:51
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • Today, Congress returns to work from its August recess, giving lawmakers a scant 15 legislative days before they again adjourn for the November elections to address the pressing business of the American people.

    Energy is still the pressing business of the day, with gasoline still at a national average of $3.67/gallon as of Friday. Lest there was any doubt in politicians’ minds, that’s still too high. (It’s okay, ALG News will keep you clued in.)

    Things to watch out for: 1) an up-or-down vote in the House on increased energy production; 2) Senate Republicans blocking any reauthorization of the off-shore oil and natural gas drilling plus oil shale exploration moratoria; and 3) a mighty budget battle.

    Top Capitol Hill insiders expect that Congressional Democrats will attempt to reauthorize the drilling ban inside a massive omnibus appropriations bill, leading to Republicans blocking passage of the budget. This will both force the issues of energy and keeping government open to the forefront.

    Which will the American people opt for: more energy or a funded government? Time will tell, but the odds are on Republicans successfully allowing the moratoria to expire. All they have to do is maintain a filibuster. And if they could successfully filibuster Majority Leader Reid’s $11.3 billion omnibus spending bill, surely they can filibuster reauthorization of the ban on increased energy production.

    However, curiously, the GOP’s presidential nominee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has yet to take leadership on letting these moratoria to expire. While he has said that as president he would lift the ban, that is far different from using his position in the Senate to actually make sure that happens.

    These bans will expire on October 1st. Surely, Mr. McCain can take some time out from the campaign trail to make a stand in Washington in the halls of the Senate to increase energy production.

    More of a long-shot are the prospects for enacting the American Energy Act—the House GOP’s comprehensive, “all-of-the-above” energy solution—during the next three weeks. But anything’s possible.

    Thus far, not a single Democrat has signed on to the only legislation that would break up restrictions against drilling off-shore, on-shore, in ANWR, exploring for oil shale, and building nuclear power plants and gasoline refineries.  And not a single of the 22 members that Republican leaders wrote a letter to have even responded to the minority’s calls for an up-or-down vote on the bill.

    Democrats appear comfortable with portraying the House Republicans efforts to promote their legislation during the August recess as a stunt. Whether they can maintain that line now that Congress is back in session remains to be seen.

    ALG News predicts that House Speaker Pelosi will allow votes on legislation that ostensibly allows for more drilling, but includes poison pills: raise taxes on energy producers, overregulate the oil futures markets, regulate the auto industry even more, invest in more biofuels, etc.

    In order to defeat these proposals—and to successfully get a vote on the American Energy Act—Republicans will need to make the case that the Democrat proposals will have the contrary effect of making oil, gasoline, and other sources of energy much more expensive than it already is.

    That will place emphasis on their “all-of-the-above” alternative, and increase the likelihood that they can find the votes they need from House Democrats to pass the bill. In other words, they need to win the debate on energy.

    John McCain can help. So can Sarah Palin, the Alaska Governor who wants to drill in ANWR. Republicans have been handed a golden opportunity with the combination of sky-high gasoline prices and the current do-nothing Congress. If they rally together with consistent messaging on the issue, they can force votes on their proposals.

    There’s three weeks left in this legislative session, and ALG News will keep you apprised what this Congress—with its single digit approval ratings—is able to accomplish on increasing energy production.

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