David Freddoso sees a showdown coming six weeks before the election in Congress — and he looks forward to it. The ban on drilling in the OCS and in shale formations expires on September 30th, and Congress usually extends these bans in the appropriations process. Freddoso expects Nancy Pelosi to remain obstinate in supporting the ban, and hopes Republicans in both the House and Senate rise to her challenge:
Democrats will likely propose a continuing resolution to extend funding for the government through the end of the calendar year without making major changes. This bill will certainly include a continuation of the drilling ban — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), a zealous opponent of offshore drilling since the 1980s, has resisted all attempts to change it.
Democrats are sufficiently committed to maintaining the ban that they could even be willing to force a government shutdown in September, or dare the Republicans to force one. But if Republicans are equally committed to increasing the domestic-energy supply, and President Bush is willing to use his veto pen, they have a golden opportunity.
Both sides will hearken back to 1995, when a Republican Congress faced off against a Democratic President over a government shutdown, and lost. However, part of the reason for the failure was a lack of engagement by the American electorate in the reasons for the impasse. To the nation, it just looked like Beltway politics run amok, an esoteric and largely pointless contest for power than for any real principle or national interest.
If the Democrats think that will apply to a government shutdown on this issue, they will find themselves sorely mistaken. This fight resonates with Americans every time they go to the pumps, as well as the grocery store. The issue of energy security and the burdensome cost of Democratic energy policy will make this an infuriating event, especially given the Democrats’ stated policy of jacking up the gas tax on top of limiting domestic production.
President Bush will have to veto any appropriations bills that pass with the ban extended. Preferably, the Senate Republican caucus will block the bill first. This kind of showdown five weeks before the election will highlight the obstructionism of the Democrats and show how wedded they are to radical environmentalists — and how divorced they are from the vast majority of American voters.
What part of 67% don’t Democrats understand? That should be the rallying cry for this effort.