When required to vote on an energy amendment that would have opened up the supply of resources to lower costs to the American consumer, Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee chose to walk rather than vote.

Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.) called for lifting a 27-year ban on deep see exploration during the markup of the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, but the markup quickly dissipated as senior Democrats chose to leave the room. House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) offered this statement:

“Unfortunately, the millions of Americans struggling with skyrocketing energy costs don’t have the option of walking away from their electricity bills — and they don’t have the option to walk away from their vehicles. These Americans need honest talk about our current energy crisis — and genuine, supply-based solutions to help fix it. Regrettably, they’ll see very little of that on the floor today […].”

It’s highly probably that critics of offshore drilling are afraid of the strong public support for drilling and are trying to keep the vote as clandestine as possible. Last week’s Rasmussen poll found that 67% support offshore drilling off the coasts of California, Florida and other states while only 18% oppose. Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst for The Heritage Foundation, outlines the benefits of four useful policy suggestions issued by President Bush in his speech last week that would increase supply and ultimately reduce price. These include:

1.) Removing restrictions on oil drilling in American waters;
2.) Opening up a small portion of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling;
3.) Streamlining the regulations that hamper refinery capacity expansions; and
4.) Eliminating the federal barriers to development of oil shale.