House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio) will take aim at President Obama’s energy policies Tuesday during remarks at a Texas oil rig, the latest skirmish in the election-year war over high gasoline prices.
BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE will call on Obama to throw his support behind GOP-backed legislation to expand domestic oil-and-gas production, among other things. House Republicans assert that the bills will help rein in high gasoline prices, which are averaging $3.92 per gallon nationally.
The Speaker will tour an oil rig near Midland, Texas, with Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), according to Boehner's office. The rig is located on a private ranch in the Permian Basin, a major oil field.
Republicans, hoping to exact a political toll on Obama going into the election, have sought to place the blame for high gas prices squarely on the president’s shoulders. In a flurry of speeches, television interviews and press events during the last several weeks, they’ve alleged that Obama is not doing enough to relieve consumers’ pain at the pump.
The White House, keenly aware of polls that suggest Obama could take a political hit from high gas prices, has launched a counteroffensive to undercut the Republican attacks.
Obama has delivered a slew of speeches in recent weeks in which he touts his “all-of-the-above” energy plan, stressing that there are no quick fixes to gas prices and underscoring his efforts to expand drilling, improve fuel efficiency and invest in renewables.
The president has touted federal data that show oil production at its highest level since 2003, an effort to counter GOP claims that the Obama administration is standing in the way of expanded drilling.
Total production from U.S. lands and waters, which the federal government controls, has increased during Obama’s time in office. But offshore production dipped in 2011, according to Energy Information Administration data.
Energy experts say federal policymakers have little control over gas prices, as they are tethered to oil prices, which are set on world markets. Even a dramatic expansion of domestic oil-and-gas leasing would have little short-term effect on prices, they say.