Brady: Drilling halt has cost over 23,000 jobs

"Right now this administration's anti-American energy agenda is adding insult to injury," he said in prepared remarks. "Not only are our coastal communities dealing with an environmental catastrophe [caused by the BP oil spill], this administration's handling of the moratorium and permit process is turning the situation into an economic catastrophe."

Brady's comments come on the heels of a report last week by the Bipartisan Policy Center saying the three-month moratorium that ends Nov. 30 may no longer be needed.

"If this moratorium is no longer needed, Mr. President, we want our jobs back," Brady said. "What's the plan to restore the jobs lost due to the moratorium?"

Brady is the senior Republican on the House Joint Economic Committee and is also a sitting member on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

The congressman points out that by the administration's own analysis, the 33 oilrigs sitting idle in the Gulf have cost the region 23,247 jobs.

He also said that even if the moratorium is lifted, the administration's new permitting and regulations could create a "de facto" moratorium that would extend through the summer.

"This is a very similar situation to what is happening in the shallow waters right now," Brady said, adding that while there is no moratorium on shallow-water drilling, the new permitting process has slowed action in that sector to a crawl.

"Mr. President, you banned deepwater drilling, you are dragging your feet in the shallow waters and energy companies are leaving the Gulf," Brady said. "Enough is enough."

A hearing on the moratorium is scheduled to take place in Houston on Sept. 7.