US House members trade charges as oil price climbs

US House Democratic and Republican leaders accused each other of inaction as oil prices climbed toward $100/bbl.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 8 -- US House Democratic and Republican leaders accused each other of inaction as oil prices climbed toward $100/bbl.

Democrats remain committed to sweeping legislation that would encourage more domestic biofuels production and reduce US dependence on imported oil, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Nov. 7. But the bill simply will make matters worse, Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said a day earlier.

"For the nearly 7 years of the Bush administration, the rising cost of gas and home heating oil has been a major economic stress on millions of American families. The response from President Bush has been to promote new benefits and tax breaks for an industry already enjoying record profits. The American people, not the oil industry, need help from their government," Pelosi said.

Democrats are negotiating final details in energy legislation to invest in domestic biofuels to strengthen national security, lower energy prices, create jobs, promote energy efficiency, and reduce the global warming threat, she maintained. "We will vote soon to pass this bill and send it to the president for his signature," she said.

Blunt said Americans want a bill that makes use of already available resources and technology to deliver affordable energy. "That means unlocking new supplies, encouraging conservation, and promoting the research and innovation we'll need to adapt to the future," he said.

Instead, he continued, Democrats are writing a bill in secret that could restrict access to domestic supplies further and impose more taxes on production, which effectively would raise prices and increase dependence on imports.

"For every 25¢ increase in the price of gasoline, it's estimated that $100 million a day is taken out of our economy. If you're counting at home, gas has gone up more than 70¢ since Democrats took control in January. And if they're successful in passing their no-energy bill this winter, it'll go up a whole lot more than that," Blunt said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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