Energy bill out of gasIf there was any doubt that Democrats would do ANYTHING to stop further oil drilling, this lastest action by Pelosi puts it to rest. Democrats have stood in the way of increasing oil supplies for decades.
By Jared Allen and Mike Soraghan
House Democrats are in a bind on the focal point of their energy plan.
Worried that a floor vote on any energy-related measure would trigger a Republican-forced vote on domestic drilling, the leadership has scrubbed the floor schedule of the energy legislation that it vowed to tackle after the Fourth of July recess.
Republicans pounced, saying Democrats were backtracking after realizing they would be unable to defeat a Republican vote on increased domestic oil drilling in new areas.
“It’s panic time for Democrats,” said a senior Republican aide. “They are on the wrong side of three-quarters of the American people who support increased production of American-made energy.”
“If we could send deepwater drilling over, it would pass the Senate,” said a Republican leadership aide, highlighting just how much an energy vote could backfire on Democrats.
A senior Democratic leadership aide acknowledged this week that there are plenty of members of the majority caucus “who want to drill and want to drill where Republicans want to drill.”
Further complicating matters for Democrats is the growing number of pro-drilling Democrats who are becoming increasingly worried that voters might throw them in with their anti-drilling leadership.
One pro-drilling Democrat predicted that the backlash against Congress for gas prices could rival the outrage voters felt about the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
Another, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), is frustrated at not being listened to.
“My concern with my leadership is that they’re not letting all the people in the room to present the facts,” said Melancon, a proponent of more offshore drilling. “Where are all the pro-oil legislators? I’m not in the room. I don’t know who is. My feeling is we are not being all-inclusive to pass legislation that can get through the Senate and avoid a veto.”
For now, though, there will be no legislation to pass, as the only energy-related action this week will occur at the committee level.
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