The past few days House Republicans have been staging a wonderful revolution demanding Nancy Pelosi allow an up or down vote on off shore drilling. This revolution spawned the #dontgo Movement. If you’ve been following the Republicans’ efforts online, then you are familiar with it. This revolution appears to be working because Speaker Pelosi’s showing signs of cracks. And I don’t mean in her face. She was on Larry King Live where she said she was open to a vote on off shore drilling if the package included opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. From The Hill:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday night dropped her staunch opposition to a vote on offshore oil drilling in the House.
Republicans, reacting to high gas prices, have demanded a vote on additional oil exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf, where drilling is currently blocked by a moratorium. Until now, Pelosi (D-Calif.) has resisted the idea as a “hoax.” But in an interview on CNN’s Larry King Live, she indicated that she was open to a vote.
A “hoax”? My god, this woman has some nerve. Trying to ensure that Americans have long term control over their own oil is not a hoax. Here’s the hoax, and Nancy Pelosi herself is involved in perpetrating it on Americans.
She continues, again, from The Hill:
“They have this thing that says drill offshore in the protected areas,” Pelosi said. “We can do that. We can have a vote on that.”
“They” are the Republicans and “this thing” is called a revolution, a movement, Ms. Pelosi, and it’s based upon the strongly and correctly held belief that America should and will become independent of foreign nations for its oil. This position is moral and right and just.
There’s a phony compromise offered by the “Gang of Ten” floating around in the Senate that, as Betsy Newmark notes, would end up being a massive Democratic giveaway while erasing the inroads the Republicans have made toward off shore drilling:
It’s a lot tougher for Republicans to oppose a phony compromise than simply highlighting on how Pelosi isn’t allowing a vote. They need to be up to the task and not let Pelosi get away with pretending to be willing to have drilling while drawing up the regulations so that the drilling would be too limited to really access domestic supplies of oil.
The Democrats will have to either allow a vote on the moratorium on offshore drilling which expires this fall or try to fold a continuation of the moratorium into some massive omnibus spending bill and hope that Republicans would go along just to get the appropriations passed. Pelosi has pretended before to allow a vote and jerked back the football.
The Editors at The National Review weighed in on the Gang of Ten’s compromise and notes that there are a lot of ethanol pushers involved in this compromise:
The latest half-baked idea comes from a “gang of ten” senators — five Republicans, five Democrats — who have offered a compromise that would lift the ban on offshore drilling in exchange for $20 billion in new federal spending on alternative sources of energy. The list — ag-friendly guys like Saxby Chambliss and Kent Conrad, corn-staters like Ben Nelson and John Thune — smells of ethanol. The compromise bill includes $2.5 billion for biofuel research and billions more in incentives for automakers to make cars with ethanol-burning engines. There might be a smart way for Washington to subsidize research into alternative energy, but this isn’t it.
No it isn’t. All the ethanol subsidies are what’s causing the jump in food prices the past few years. Growing corn for fuel is becoming more profitable than growing it for food because of the government’s propping up of the ethanol industry. With this compromise, not only will gasoline not become any cheaper and Americans not any less dependent on foreign oil, but food prices will continue to rise making life for Americans more difficult on two very important fronts.
The editorial continues:
There is a simpler solution. The congressional ban on drilling has to be renewed each year, and the current ban expires in September, so congressional Republicans and President Bush should fight to stop the ban’s renewal. The Democrats are backpedaling like mad. Their presidential candidate doesn’t have a coherent position and has resorted to Carter-esque lectures on energy conservation. Meanwhile, the speaker of the House is telling vulnerable members of her caucus to support lifting the ban.
The Democrats find themselves on the wrong side of the most important issue to Americans right now. Now is not the time for a compromise. It’s time to keep applying pressure.
Update: Investor’s Business Daily outlines this so called “compromise” the Gang of Ten is proposing:
Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Thune of South Dakota — remember their names if things go badly for the GOP this November.
With the issue of domestic drilling to provide relief for suffering consumers landing right in the laps of embattled congressional Republicans, those five — none of whom faces any immediate danger of losing his seat — decided to join with some crafty Democrats and smash to pieces that gift from the heavens.
The “compromise” they are promoting is actually a wholesale giveaway to Democrats. Touted as a drilling plan, it actually imposes about $84 billion in new taxes on oil companies and keeps the offshore and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling bans.
In the five states supposedly being opened to more drilling — Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida — massive regulatory roadblocks and state legislative fights could mean drilling in theory, but precious little in practice. Imposition of an arbitrary 50-mile no-drilling zone denies access to known oil deposits.
No wonder Nancy Pelosi is now making noises she’d support an up or down vote on off shore drilling. This compromise means a win for the Dems.
Note: A commenter asked that I provide documentation to support my argument that ethanol subsidies are driving up the price of food. Please note that I added several links to different sources.