Thursday on Capitol Hill provided the perfect contrast between Republican and Democrat approaches to the problem of high energy costs. In the Senate Finance Committee Democrats grilled Oil Company Executives over record profits, while conveniently ignoring higher profit margins for non-oil businesses and the huge windfall in federal gas taxes which dwarfs oil company profits.
The move by Senate Dems matches Obama's order to Attorney General Holder to investigate high gas prices. No similar investigation has been launched into businesses like Apple Computer which saw a recent 95% increase in profits.
On the other side of the Capitol, The GOP, with some bipartisan support, passed another bill in a series known as the American Energy Initiative. The bill, titled" “Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act” effectively forces the Obama Administration to permit drilling and increase domestic oil production whether they like it or not. Included in the bill:
- Require the administration to allow drilling in at least 50 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf areas known to contain the most oil and gas. Specifically, that means southern California, the Arctic, mid-Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
- Open up other areas in the southern Atlantic and allow governors there to to opt in to the plan if they chose.
- Require the federal government to establish production targets for oil and gas. Currently, that would mean 3 million barrels a day of oil, or roughly three times more than the U.S. currently produces from offshore sources.
Which party has the better approach to finding the energy America needs?