When the Congress returns after the July 4 holiday, House and Senate Republicans plan to pounce on the energy and gasoline price issue, pushing Democrats to join in calling for more oil drilling. "That's all you're going to hear about next week," said a top Senate GOP aide. "People want something done about this." Republican officials tell us that their members are getting an earful from constituents back home and that many who used to oppose drilling in ocean waters or Alaska are now open to it.
Polls also show that trend. When Congress returns, the GOP will push its Gas Price Reduction Act to expand supplies, fund development of electric cars, limit oil speculation, and even study drawing oil from shale. The GOP officials said that the addition of targeting oil speculators and pushing for electric cars is a "tip of the hat to the Democrats" who are focused on conservation and punishing speculators. Also look for the Republicans to portray opposition from Democratic leaders to their plan as radicals. They will most likely cite comments this week from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said on Fox Business Network, "Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It's global warming. It's ruining our country. It's ruining our world." Said the Senate aide, "With $4 gas and rising, people just don't think like that anymore."