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This Week: GOP-Led House to Continue Campaign for Keystone Pipeline,"All-of-the-Above" Energy Plan

House Republicans return to Washington this week to focus on reducing government barriers to job creation and addressing high gas prices, the Washington Post reports today: 

 
“[C]ongressional Republicans return to Washington on Monday refocusing on bread-and-butter matters, particularly high gasoline prices. Returning from a two-week break Monday, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) wants the spring legislative session to focus on several bills to allow more domestic energy exploration, believing that the issue has become an Achilles’ heel for President Obama....
 
“Starting this week, the House GOP will try to push a temporary highway funding bill that includes mandatory approval of construction of the Keystone energy pipeline, setting up a negotiation showdown with the Senate. In addition, committees are moving bills that would freeze regulations on refineries and also forbid Obama from releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep costs down, a move that Republicans say would only be done for political expediency as the November election draws near.
 
“‘Gas prices have doubled on President Obama’s watch, and the American people are asking why he and Senate Democrats are blocking more American energy production,’ Boehner said in a statement. ‘Whether the president joins us or not, we will continue to fight for common-sense solutions that lower gas prices and create new jobs.’
 
“Republicans believe that the winter surge in energy costs — the average price of a gallon of gas jumped nearly 70 cents, to about $3.90, from late December to mid-April — provides them with a political opening to go on the offensive against Obama....GOP pollster David Winston said the last concerted campaign by Republicans on the cost of gasoline, in the summer of 2008, came when the economy was still considered relatively good — in August 2008 the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.
 
“Now, Winston said, ‘there is a real economic dynamic that didn’t exist then.’ His most recent poll, which is being distributed to Boehner’s GOP conference, shows that congressional Republicans hold a seven-point edge, 48 percent to 41 percent, over Obama on how they are handling the energy issue. More importantly, independent voters side with Republicans, 47 percent to 32 percent, by a wider margin.”
 
As economics professor Mark J. Perry explained in the Washington Examiner today, high gas prices are taking a toll on families and small businesses – and increasing American energy production, as House Republicans have proposed, would help address high energy costs: 
 
“But higher gasoline prices take a bite out of the household budgets of families nationwide. Every 1-cent increase in the retail price of gasoline translates into about $1 billion annually in higher costs for American consumers....Simply put, oil supplies matter. Larger supplies of secure oil -- oil that won't be withheld from the market for political reasons -- can result in lower retail gas prices at the pump.
 
“The importance of secure oil cannot be overstated. It's quite likely that oil and gasoline prices would decline over the long term if more oil were produced domestically and Canadian oil were allowed to flow freely through the rejected Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, just imagine how different the U.S. economy and the energy situation would be today if, 30 years ago, our elected officials had allowed drilling in the oil-rich areas of Alaska, along the West Coast, the East Coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Instead, they chose to block access to those supplies, keeping us dependent on foreign oil from politically unstable countries.”
 
Read more about House Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy strategy here
 
Tags: Energy