Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Watchdog to probe EPA email preservation MORE (R-Wyo.) sharply criticized the Democrats' cap and trade energy legislation on Saturday, saying the policy amounts to another tax.

"It's true. They want to put a new tax on American energy," Barrasso said in the Republican response to President Obama's weekly radio and internet address.

"A new tax every time you turn on a light switch," he added. "American families already spend more than $2,000 a year on home energy costs alone."

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday passed Chairman Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) climate change proposal out of the committee in a 33 to 25 vote. The proposal would set up a carbon cap and trading system intended to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the legislation in her weekly press conference.

Republicans, however, have been highly critical of the proposal, saying it amounts to more taxes.

Barrasso said he supports "developing renewable energy and alternative energy" and "doubling our investment in energy research."

That includes, he said, developing oil and gas resources (read: offshore drilling), clean coal technology and nuclear power.

"There are billions of barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf," he said. "There's even more in Alaska. There's enough oil shale in the Rocky Mountain west alone to power America for the next hundred years."

Barrasso also called on Democrats to work with Republicans on energy legislation.

"As we approach this Memorial Day," he said, "it is my hope that the Democrats can work with us to develop solutions to make our energy supply clean, affordable, and reliable."