Congressmen Say Energy Should be Top Priority

After a five week break Congress headed back to work today. While it’s not on the agenda, the issue everyone is talking about is energy—specifically oil—and whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will allow a vote on the Energy Bill that allows new offshore drilling. Bill Stamps tells how Houston-area lawmakers weigh in on the issue.

Monday was kind of like the first day back to school for the United States Congress. Airports across the country were filled with congressional leaders heading back to Washington. Republicans Kevin Brady and Michael McCaul of Houston held a quick news conference at Bush Airport before taking off.  They wanted to say what they think Congress’s number one priority should be once they get there.

Republican Kevin Brady: “This is a democracy not a dictatorship. Seventy percent of Americans supports more exploration here in American, they support drilling in our deep ocean waters and in the Arctic Reserve and throughout the midwest as well.”

Republican Michael McCaul: “I’ve talked to my farmers, ranchers, my small business owners, the schools, police departments, fire departments, and let me tell you something. They are hurting. They are hurting and they want action and they want action in the Congress. And the time to act is now.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee had already boarded her plane. Her fellow Democrat Gene Green of Houston took an early flight to DC and spoke from his cell phone at the airport. Unlike many Democrats, Green supports offshore drilling and oil exploration.

“We do everything in the energy industry in our district. We have service companies, refineries and chemical plans so I’m very pro-domestic production.”

Other Democrats are afraid drilling for oil will damage the environment. They also say the process takes years and oil prices won’t go down anytime soon. But the price has gone down around 50-cents in the past month or so during Congress’s recess. Congressman Gene Green thinks there could be a correlation.

“I joke at home that perhaps Congress should never be in session, we’d get even cheaper gas prices.”

Bill Stamps, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.