Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a Bipartisan Energy Summit featuring experts from MIT, Google, Shell, and others. At one point in the hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) tore into the energy protest House Republicans have been holding for the past several weeks. This political stunt was meant to demand a vote on oil drilling and “attack Democrats for leaving town” in August “without doing something to lower gas prices.”
After listening all the problems currently facing the country, Whitehouse asked the experts whether anyone thought drilling was the “number one issue” right now. Almost nine seconds went by with complete silence:
WHITEHOUSE: Gentlemen, we’re in the middle of a near total mortgage system meltdown in this country. We have a health care system that burns 16 percent of our GDP, in which the Medicare liability alone has been estimated at $34 trillion. We’re burning $10 billion a month in Iraq.
This administration has run up $7.7 trillion in national debt, by our calculation. And there is worsening evidence every day of global warming, with worsening environmental and national security ramifications. In light of those conditions, do any of you seriously contend that drilling for more oil is the number one issue facing the American people today?
WHITEHOUSE: No, it doesn’t seem so.
House Republicans have spent the past month claiming that their political stunt was “America’s greatest hour” and the “2008 version of the Boston Tea Party.” Not only are they out of step with energy experts, but according to recent polls, the majority of the American public believes that the economy — not drilling — is the most important issue facing the nation. More here and here on why drilling isn’t the answer to lowering gas prices. (HT: Get Energy Smart)