On the heels of a multi-state blitz by the GOP’s House Energy Action Team, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will today introduce his party’s answer to President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy.
The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act is a package of bills — all of which passed out of committee with bipartisan support — intended to spur job growth while lowering energy costs.
It also does the dual duty of taking the energy fight to Democrats in the campaign season and taking the steam out of Obama’s avowed support for oil, gas and coal as part of the equation.
“Last Friday’s abysmal employment report should be a wake-up call to the President and Senate Democrats,” McCarthy said. “They cannot continue to sit on their hands while 13 million Americans remain out of work. The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act will help job creators in the energy industry invest more in American-made energy and American-made jobs.”
McCarthy will make the morning rounds on CNBC, CNN and Fox to announce the bill before the formal unveiling of the legislation with the rest of the HEAT team at a 3 p.m. press conference (UPDATE: Video).
The package includes Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-Colo.) Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, which would require the administration to formulate a plan for new energy leases on federal land — with production output equal to that which is sapped from the reserve — if it decides to dip into the SPR.
Gardner, who is reportedly a co-sponsor on McCarthy’s bill, told PJM back in April that he wouldn’t put it past Obama to draw from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if needed in an election year. “It’s a trend with this president who’s willing to do anything for politics,” he said.
It also includes Rep. Ed Whitfield’s (R-Ky.) Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, which would freeze new EPA regulations that are expected to drive up pump prices; Rep. Scott Tipton’s (R-Colo.) Planning for American Energy Act of 2012, which would make the Interior Secretary develop an all-of-the-above plan that includes fossil fuels as well as renewables; Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Colo.) Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012, which would implement a minimum acreage leasing plan and speed up the leasing process; Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R-Colo.) Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act, which would dial back the red tape for energy developers; Rep. Doc Hastings’ (R-Wash.) National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act; and Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-Ohio) BLM Live Internet Auctions Act.
The bill is likely to be followed by some sort of pushback from Obama, who visited an Iowa wind farm in response to the Republicans’ recess energy tour.
Post-recess, Washington was hit by the news that the unemployment rate had ticked back up to 8.2 percent amid disappointing job growth.
“This legislation has the potential to spur the economic growth that will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and bring down gas prices from the ‘new normal’ of $3.50 per gallon, the current national average,” McCarthy said. “By working together, we can empower innovators to harness our domestic energy capabilities using new technologies.”
“This will help put our country back on the road to recovery by creating jobs and growing our economy,” the Whip added.