Washington gears up for energy day
The debate over the Democrat's bill on oil speculation is underway, and Republicans are agitating for new drilling leases.
All across town, oil and gas prices are on tap today in Washington. Former Vice president Al Gore is the headliner. The Nobel laureate delivers speech on the world’s energy future at DAR Constitution Hall.
Meanwhile, 17 blocks up Constitution Ave., in the Senate, debate over Democrats’ bill on oil speculation should get underway. Now there are procedural hurdles and no votes are expected.
Executives from the airline industry showed up on Capitol Hill yesterday congratulating Democrats on their bid to tamp down on speculation. Here’s Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): "Every CEO of every major airline has written us all asking us to take action against excessive speculation."
They’re not just writing senators. Airlines are going grass-roots. Anyone who has a frequent flyer account may have gotten an email this week not flaunting the latest airfare deals but begging customers to call Congress and urge a yes vote on speculation bills.
More action in the House than in the Senate today. Republicans have been agitating for new drilling leases. Democrats respond today with the DRILL Act. DRILL in this case stands for “Drill responsibly in leased lands” and it’s not what Republicans had in mind.
Basically that says oil companies have to drill on some of the estimated 68 million acres of federal leases they already hold before they get any more. Environmental groups have not reacted well to gestures some Democrats have been making toward allowing more drilling.
Joe Barton is from oil country in Texas and he’s the senior Republican on the House Energy and commerce committee.
REP. JOE BARTON (R-TX): "Drilling in areas we haven’t drilled where there’s high potential has to be part of a comprehensive energy solution. In none of those areas has Speaker Pelosi considered allowing her committee chairman to mark up."
What it does not do is go after speculators. House Democrats are still mulling that bill. They’re promising it in coming weeks kind of letting the oil bills trickle rather than gush onto the floor over the summer.
Created by Bureau Chief and Executive Producer Melinda Wittstock, Capitol News Connection provides insightful, localized coverage of participating stations' congressional delegations.More "Capitol News Connection"