Hoyer: ‘Democrats Are Not Against Drilling’

Posted July 9, 2008 at 11:14am

In a sign that Republicans may be hitting them where it hurts, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Wednesday that he supports domestic drilling, along with other things aimed at lowering gas prices.

“Democrats are for greater domestic production. Democrats are not against drilling,” Hoyer said.

Sensing a political opening on a volatile issue, Republicans have been endlessly berating Democrats for not doing enough to lower gas prices, and have ceaselessly slammed them for a perceived opposition to domestic drilling.

The problem has been that Republicans have “failed to look at alternatives” and have backed tax incentives for oil companies that have raked in profits as the economy suffers, said the Majority Leader.

Hoyer said Exxon Mobil, for example, spent 80 percent of its profits last year on buying back its own stock, which means funds were not used for new products but for enhancing the value of existing ones.

“Explore, extract, refine. … We’re for that,” Hoyer said. But conservation has to be part of the solution, and Republican proposals “have not done that.”