Last week was a historic week in America, with the capture and demise of the mastermind behind the attacks of 9/11, Osama bin Laden. The news has spread across the globe, and we have all become even more keenly aware and grateful for the masterful work of our armed forces, which stand to serve and protect us. They’ve illustrated the American resolve to never give up, no matter how difficult the fight.
I think the same applies to the American will to improve our nation’s economy. As we celebrate a symbolic victory for national security, Congress is still working on behalf of the people in our districts to draft common-sense policies to boost economic growth, create more jobs, and — with gas prices more than $4 a gallon nationwide — we are also considering legislation to increase domestic energy production and lower the cost of gasoline.
Increasing gas prices can take a toll on the daily lives of our families, friends and colleagues. When gas prices spike, it can severely shift and destroy pre-set and often wellplanned household budgets. It can create choices none of us want or should have to make, like choosing between buying groceries or filling up the car with gas for the drive to and from work.
To some, gas prices may seem like a small matter when we are looking across the spectrum of national security, education, health and environment issues, but gas-price increases take a serious toll on low and middle-income Americans just trying to make ends meet.
Price increases don’t just affect the price at the pump; they impact the cost of all delivery items, grocery bills, travel plans, whether we put our children in extracurricular activities that may require driving and other dailylife activities. There is a snowball effect that is created when gas prices balloon unexpectedly.
America has an abundance of energy resources. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Interior has legally obstructed access to much of what is available to us. Because of this, in the past several years, the price of a gallon of gasoline has nearly doubled.
This week in Congress, we may be taking up two bills that I have co-sponsored to expand domestic energy production and combat the skyrocketing gasoline prices Americans are facing at the pump. As part of House Republicans’ American Energy Initiative, H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act and H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, will create American jobs, lower gas prices and reduce our dependency on unstable foreign oil.
The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act would require the administration to move forward promptly to conduct offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that the administration has previously delayed or canceled.
The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act would end the administration’s de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible, transparent manner by setting firm timelines for considering permits to drill. It reforms current law by requiring the secretary to issue a permit to drill and also requiring the secretary to conduct a safety review.
While those two bills will be addressed this week in Congress, I have also co-sponsored HR 1231, the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act will also lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the administration to move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural-gas resources.
Drilling must be conducted with the utmost care for our environment. Offshore drilling should be part of a much larger policy, including fuel alternatives, to achieve energy independence. While doing this, we must be diligent in enforcing laws to prevent another disaster, like the British Petroleum disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, in a safe and responsible manner.
This brings us full circle to protecting and efficiently utilizing our resources, which in turn, will take the immense pressure of my constituents, Californians, and Americans working to make ends meet, because they are suffering through unexpected price jumps at the pump.
Additionally, passage of these legislative attempts to tackle the American energy production issue could create 250,000 short-term jobs, and 1.2 million jobs in the long term, according to Dr. Joseph Mason, economist and professor at Louisiana State University.
America must address the issue of energy production in order to improve our economic standing. Reliance on foreign energy is not an option. Addressing this issue fully will ultimately be reflected in gas prices and will be passed on to the very people we represent.
Let’s halt the toll rising gas prices is having on American families and small businesses.
Online: Flash Report