The Energy Debate, July Version

As the House of Representatives returns to work today from a 10-day break, it will be interesting to see in coming days just how spooked members of both parties got while back home on the issue of high oil and gasoline prices.

Before the July 4th break, Democrats had promised to approve a slew of energy bills that would help provide relief from high prices.

Instead, Democrats had to delay two bills, hold more hearings on another and watch as one plan went down to defeat on the House floor.

The question is, how do Democratic leaders re-load and move on energy in the next four weeks?  After early August, Congress will be out until after Labor Day for a summer break and the national political conventions.

As of now, I don’t expect much movement towards the center and some kind of major political compromise on the issue.

Both parties are still for the most part preaching to their own political choir.  The only “outreach” they make is to say that the other party should adopt their own plans.

There will be more hearings on the role that speculation has played in the jump in oil prices in the oil futures markets.

Some told Congress last month that new regulations could bring down oil prices by as much as $70/barrel in thirty days.

But a number of other experts testified soon after that proposition was basically an election year pipe dream.

So expect Democrats to rail against the GOP theme of “drill, drill, drill” and watch the GOP denounce the Democrat refusal to expand domestic oil and gas production.

It will be interesting, especially if gas prices march to the level of $5/gallon.

Stay tuned.