Tuesday, August 05, 2008

GOP to Oil Companies: You pay & we'll play...

From American Progress:

A Stunt-Driven Agenda

On Friday, the House was scheduled to close for its regular August recess. House conservatives, however, refused to leave the floor, demanding a vote on offshore drilling. With the C-SPAN cameras and the House floor lights turned off, a handful of conservatives stuck around for over five hours "to attack Democrats for leaving town without doing something to lower gas prices."

"Eighteen times over the past 90 days, the minority tried, unsuccessfully, to force the House to adjourn. Now the House has finally adjourned -- for a five-week recess, no less -- and Republicans are demanding that the chamber be called back into session," the Washington Post's Dana Milbank observed.

Believing "they have struck political gold with American voters," conservatives are lauding their stagecraft in the most grandiose terms. "Today is the 2008 version of the Boston Tea Party," exclaimed Rep John Shadegg (R-AZ). "[L]ike the founders of this country we're going directly to the American people," boasted Rep. Tim Price (R-GA). "This could be America's greatest hour," crowed Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL).

Conservatives extended the theatrics yesterday and have declared they will continue their floor protests for "as long as it takes."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called their tactics "stunts" that amount to little more than "transparent political effort to manufacture headlines." Even President Bush isn't falling for it. Although the House conservatives have asked him to call an emergency session of Congress, Bush refused.


House conservatives are not looking for any fix to gas prices: They are intent on drilling and drilling only -- and simultaneously filling Big Oil's coffers. These same conservatives have voted to block legislation that would have released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, block legislation banning price gouging, and block legislation requiring oil companies to first drill on the land already leaded to them.

Conservative leaders have blocked or voted "no" on eight different energy bills aimed at addressing rising prices, including bills that raised vehicle fuel efficiency, provided tax incentives for renewable energy, invested in energy efficiency, required a 15 percent renewable electricity standard, and expanded commuter rail and bus services while reducing transit fares.

Opening new offshore sites to drilling is a boon only to Big Oil companies, and they have responded to conservatives' efforts by opening their wallets. Just in the last year, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), one of the leaders of the floor standoff, has received more than nearly $100,000 from the oil and gas industries, with $20,000 from Chevron alone.


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