Friday, August 1, 2008

Bipartisan Rump Groups Seek to Chart Middle Course on Energy Policy

Don't wait for September! Bring them back now!
CQ Congress broke for August recess Friday locked in the same stalemate over energy that has stalled action on gasoline prices for most of the summer.
While leaders failed to reach a deal, two bipartisan groups of rank-and-file members in the House and Senate on Thursday and Friday outlined energy proposals that they hope could chart a way through the logjam when lawmakers return in September.
Both proposals include expanding offshore drilling – the contentious heart of Republican energy policy, which has dominated the recent debate over energy prices and blocked any movement forward. But both also include significant provisions for energy conservation and funding renewable power, which Democrats support.
The 10-member Senate group led by Sen. Kent Conrad , D-N.D., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss , R-Ga., said Friday that they hoped their legislation would serve as a launching point for the energy discussion in September, when the Senate is expected to hold a summit on energy issues.
“Everybody here has seen what’s gone on in the Senate over the last couple of weeks. The well is pretty poisoned out there right now. ... But when we come back in September, we’re very hopeful,” Chambliss said.
In the House, Democrat Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and Republican John E. Peterson of Pennsylvania unveiled their similar bipartisan proposal Thursday. (

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