GOP to make hay in May over gas

by
April 23, 2011

By DARREN GOODE, Politico

Republicans are getting ready to capitalize on record prices at the pump with a May focus on oil and gasoline.

The government shutdown battle put the issue on the back burner even though prices at the pump have been rising steadily since February. Now, with President Barack Obama already on the defensive, the GOP is ready to pounce.

House Republicans are planning bill introductions, hearings, markups and floor votes on legislation aimed at expanding domestic oil production in response to high gasoline prices.

The plain truth that there is realistically nothing Congress can do in the short- or mid-term to affect gas prices that won’t get in the way of both parties trying to score political points by complaining the other is not addressing the problem.

“The White House and the rest of the Democrats who run Washington are terrified about the political impact of gas prices, because many of their policies — like the national energy tax — are explicitly designed to raise energy prices,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

Obama on Thursday pointed to high gasoline prices for his sagging poll numbers. “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” he said at a Los Angeles fundraiser.

The latest Gallup tracking poll gives the president a 43 percent approval rating and a 49 percent disapproval rating. A divided Congress fares far worse — a 17 percent approval rating that is identical to right after last November’s midterm election.

To read more, visit:  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53595.html

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