Boehner aide: Dems using gas-price probe to ‘distract’ from US drilling

But the new probe comes at a time when Boehner and many other Republicans are alleging that White House policies place too many restrictions on domestic energy production.

While Obama says he supports domestic drilling as part of a broader energy strategy, Republicans favor more aggressive policies.

A trio of GOP bills expected on the House floor next month will impose new deadlines for taking action on industry offshore drilling permits, and greatly expand the areas open for offshore development.

But the new multi-agency working group drew a cheer Thursday from a Democratic member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, one of the agencies that will participate.

Commissioner Bart Chilton, in applauding the effort, also made clear what he thinks a major focus should be.

“I remain convinced that excessive speculation is a part of the problem and should be part of the group’s focus, too. There are multi-agency issues in investigations that can benefit from the unwavering specificity of such a working group,” Chilton said in a statement.