The wrangling continues on Capitol Hill over what to do about high gas prices.
Tuesday, Republicans blocked a Democratic plan to put a windfall tax on big oil profits and block about $17-billion in tax credits for those companies.
Now, Republicans are pushing again for new oil exploration in coastal areas and in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo) spoke withy KOLR10 News from Washington Wednesday, supporting the plan he says Republicans have been behind for years. "And what the American people have seen is the end result of the fighting we've been having in Washington for the last decade. Where 85-percent of Republicans have always voted for more supply and 85-percent of Democrats have voted for less supply," Blunt said. "Finally those politics of less supply have caught up to us."
Opening a hearing on the future of oil, Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey warned that $100-plus for a barrel of oil will likely be around for awhile. Markey chairs the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee.
Democrats accuse Republicans of being too cozy with Big Oil and argue that the U.S. must diversify away from a dependence on oil.
Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy expert at the James Baker Institute, accused lawmakers of reacting to the gas crisis like a, quote, "deer caught in the headlights."
Meanwhile today, a U.S. Energy Department official told a House panel that gas prices will likely peak around $4.15 a gallon by late summer and won't come down much after that.
Oil prices are sharply higher today, jumping by more than six-dollars-per-barrel. The increase comes after a new government report showed stockpiles fell for the fourth straight week in the United States.
(some material for this story courtesy Newsroom Solutions)