GOP Stands Firm on Offshore Drilling

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Gas prices may be inching back, but the battle over offshore drilling is getting hotter than ever.

Congress is closed for business on summer recess, but Republican lawmakers are back in Washington continuing their protest to shore up support for offshore oil drilling.

The issue is taking center stage in presidential politics.

With Congress officially out on summer recess, these are supposed to be the "dog days of summer" in Washington.

But the longtime debate over offshore oil drilling has things heating up on Capitol Hill.

Last week, the Democratically-controlled House shut out the lights on Congress and the debate over energy.

But Republicans say they're returning to build pressure for an emergency session and vote, which would include lifting the ban on drilling.

Republicans are hoping to capitalize on voters' frustrations.

They argue if the ban were lifted, it would lower gas prices and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. It's a stand Senator John McCain has supported since June. And one that Senator Barack Obama used to oppose but now says he may be open to.

"I remain skeptical of some of the drilling provisions but what I don't want to do is for the best to be the enemy of the good here," Obama said.

For his part, McCain had been against drilling but says he's a true convert and questions Obama's change of heart.

"I'm not surprised that he's hedging on this issue, but the fact is he still opposes offshore drilling. We need to drill now," McCain said.

Experts are affirming offshore drilling as an issue that Americans care about based on Obama's new position.

"The best way to determine whether another candidates' issue is selling is whether the opposing candidate suddenly adopts it at least in part. And that's exactly what Obama has done here," said Larry Sabato with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

For now, Democratic leadership isn't budging on the issue of drilling, saying the Republican's plan won't work because it will take years for oil to reach the pumps and save Americans a few pennies at best.

"If they want to present something as part of an energy package, we're talking about something," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

"But to single shoot on something that won't work and mislead the American people as to thinking it's going to reduce the price at the pump, I'm just not going to be a party of it."

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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