By Michael O'Brien - 06/13/09 08:51 AM EDT
Seeking to capitalize on steadily creeping gas prices, Republicans revived their push for an "all of the above" energy plan including increased offshore drilling in their weekly radio address. (VIDEO)
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) criticized the climate change bill by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) as only contributing to higher energy prices, touting the GOP alternative introduced this week.
The address comes as the GOP seeks to forestall the Waxman-Markey bill, a top priority of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats this year. Republicans have expressed wariness of the cap-and-trade emissions regulation in the bill as being a de-facto tax.
"During these difficult economic times, higher energy prices impose a great hardship on families struggling to make ends meet," Pence said. "Unfortunately, the Democrat majority in Congress is embracing a national energy tax that will lead to even higher energy prices and massive job losses for the American people."
The Republican plan also revives calls at the height of last summer's oil price spike for increased exploration of fossil fuels. The average price of gas last week, according to the Department of Energy, was $2.62, up 10 cents from the week before, but lower than last year's price level.
The skyrocketing prices last summer, spurred by decreased production and speculation in the crude oil market, prompted Republicans to organize their infamous sit-in protest in the House during last summer's August recess, pushing for a vote on their "all-of-the-above" plan.
Pence pushed for a similar bill in his address.
"The Republican energy plan calls for more domestic exploration for oil and natural gas, a renewed commitment to clean, emissions-free nuclear energy, investments in renewable and alternative energy technologies and incentives to spur greater conservation among individuals and businesses," he said. "The American Energy Act is the comprehensive energy solution this country desperately needs to achieve energy independence, create good jobs and help our environment."