Pelosi: Drilling Group Not ‘Poke in the Eye’

Posted July 17, 2008 at 1:13pm

As House Democratic leaders prepare to bring their heralded energy package to the floor Thursday, leaders of both parties say it doesn’t bother them that a bipartisan group of lawmakers is preparing to unveil their own energy bill that, they say, reflects solutions that leaders have refused to act on.

Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) and John Peterson (R-Pa.) this week formed a 23-member energy working group with the goal of crafting bipartisan legislation to bring down gas costs, which is something they say their leaders have failed to do.

At the heart of their bipartisan package is permitting offshore drilling, an issue that Democratic leaders have stood firmly against.

“I don’t consider it any poke in the eye,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of the group. “If everybody [having] a conversation around here was a poke in the eye, I wouldn’t be able to see all of you.”

Pelosi said she encouraged lawmakers to talk about energy solutions because “this is the issue of our time. So every voice needs to be listened to and heard and accommodated.”

For his part, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he is “for all efforts” to bring energy measures to the floor, particularly if they include offshore drilling in the mix.

The working group is “a step in the right direction,” Boehner said.