Republicans tore into the Democrats’ sham “energy” bill yesterday at a Capitol Hill rally that drew several members of both houses, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.).
“This wasn’t a bipartisan bill, this wasn’t a compromise bill. This was a jam-it-down-your-throat bill on the part of the Democrats,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said. “I was on the floor of the house when the bill actually made it to the floor — I was arguing at night and it came out. There was less than an hour’s notice for any Republican to even make it to the rules committee hearing. Only one made it — Doc Hastings — and he quickly tried to offer amendments at that rules committee hearing. They would have none of it.”
Bachmann criticized the bill for not solving America’s 70 percent energy dependence on foreign countries and the media for portraying the bill as a solution to the energy crisis. She said the bill placates environmentalist lobbyists, since it does nothing to prevent such groups from suing every oil lease awarded. Such cases often remain tied in court for years and thus prevent drilling. According to research presented by Rep. John Shadegg (R-Az), the Bush Administration issued 487 leases last February in the Chukchi Sea — environmental lawyers challenged every one.
“For the mainstream media to be complicit and suggest in any way that this bill will increase drilling and will bring down the price of gasoline at the pump is more than just ignorance,” Bachmann said. “It’s misleading, and almost fraudulent.”
At the rally, Shadegg said Democrats’ bill was intended to trick the American people by concealing its lack of litigation reform.
“Not a drop of oil will be produced under that bill, and, if the moratorium expires, it’s possible not a drop will be produced then ,” Shadegg said. “The Democrats’ allies are the trial lawyers and the environmental lawyers that have sued every single lease that’s issued by the Bush Administration in as long as anyone can remember.”
DeMint voiced concern that Democrats in the Senate will use a tactic similar to their House colleagues — open a small section to offshore drilling while placing a large section off limits, then claim they promoted offshore drilling.
“The headline on one of the Hill publications today [Wednesday] was ‘Democrats Open Offshore Drilling’ — that’s the headline they’re looking for,” DeMint said. “We’ve got a dilemma just because of the ability of the Democrats and the mainstream media to abuse the truth.”
Should the Democrats’ energy bill not pass the Senate or be replaced by a similar piece of legislation, there is good news for Republicans: the Democrats are now talking about not including a renewal of the offshore drilling moratorium on the end of the year spending bill, with the House Democratic leadership saying they do not have the votes to get it passed.
DeMint said the bill passed by the house was an “energy limitation” and that he sees no reason now to limit where America looks for energy within its own borders, provided it is not an environmental hazard.
“What reason on earth do we have at this point to limit where we look for energy when it’s not an environmental issue?” he said.
For Bachmann, the Democrats’ failure to pass a drill bill shows inability to lead in an energy crisis.
“Look what’s happened in the last 10 days on Wall Street. Look at what’s happened in the foreign sector with the Russians invading Georgia and the problems that we’re seeing on the international level,” Bachmann said. “I believe that this bill may be the nail in the coffin of the Democrat Party. They’ve written their own obituary at this point on their ability to be able to lead in an energy crisis.”
Several Republicans in the House have said they are more committed than ever to the cause and will continue to spread their message on energy to the American people. Bachmann said she had already appeared on every national radio show she could before the bill was signed and that she will continue to work in the local and national media markets.
“We are not going to sit and wait. We are not done, “ she said.