Congress ignores gas prices

Published 11:07 pm Monday, July 7, 2008

By Staff
As Americans paused last week to celebrate July 4, the spiraling cost of energy put a dark cloud over many a celebration.
From more expensive watermelons and ribs to the scaled-back family vacation, many in southwest Alabama and across the country curtailed their festivities due to the higher prices.
Incredibly, with energy prices climbing higher almost every single day, the House majority chose to adjourn for the Independence Day recess without voting on reforms to increase the production of American energy to lower gas prices.
Republicans made repeated attempts both in committees and on the House floor to force an up or down vote on making our country less dependent on foreign oil, but these attempts have been repeatedly blocked.
In the House Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, a mark-up was adjourned in lieu of allowing a vote on amendments to increase the supply of American-made energy.
It marked the fourth congressional committee hearing or mark-up that Democrats shut down last month, rather than allowing Republicans to offer meaningful energy solutions.
It appears that the agenda the majority is promoting - focusing on environmental issues - is more important than trying to foster energy independence in order to bring some relief at the fuel pump.
With gas prices in our area currently hovering around $3.94 per gallon, I find it unconscionable for Congress to go home without addressing what most Americans consider their top priority.
These spiraling energy prices are affecting everyone - from businesses to the American family, the price of energy is having a dramatic impact on our national economy as well as the national psyche.
An Associated Press - Yahoo poll found that 90 percent of Americans expect that high gas prices will directly and negatively impact their lives.
According to the report, “Like a plague that does not discriminate by economic class, race or age, soaring fuel prices are inflicting pain throughout the U.S. Nine in 10 are expecting the ballooning costs to squeeze them financially over the next half-year.
I am hopeful when Congress returns to Washington on July 8 that Democratic leaders will finally choose to work to help bring down the price of energy.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721
Jo Bonner is a member of the house of representatives. He may be reached at