WASHINGTON, DC, May 22 -- US House Democratic leaders Tuesday continued to lambaste the Bush administration for not offering short-term relief for consumers under its energy policy blueprint announced last week.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), flanked by six West Coast lawmakers, criticized the White House Tuesday for rejecting a request from the General Accounting Office to collect information about the deliberations and procedures of its energy task force, headed by Vice-Pres. Dick Cheney. Gephardt also urged the Republican leadership to push legislation setting price caps on wholesale electric power.
Billy Tauzin (R-La.), House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman, expects a vote Thursday on an emergency electricity bill that focuses on California's power woes. Democrats said they will again seek a wholesale power cap but it may fail, given the fact that White House and Republican leaders have so far rejected the idea as counterproductive.
Meanwhile, Democrats complained that industry was the only stakeholder with a place at the White House policy table while the task force was preparing its report over the past 4 months. White House officials dispute that account, saying they sought to solicit both producer and consumer views.
Nevertheless, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and other Democrats last month asked GAO, a nonpartisan investigative agency, to determine whether the White House should have kept its deliberations private.
And in a parting shot, Gephardt also accused the administration of only being interested in serving the needs of industry, instead of individual ratepayers.
"Republicans in Congress are taking up their huge tax cut for the wealthiest individuals and special interests. It seems the only thing they want to do is pass big tax cuts for their allies and supporters."
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