Republicans Push 'Energy Security,' While Democrats Balk

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - Energy security starts at home, says Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, and that means increased domestic production, among other measures.

While Abraham takes a tactful approach, other Republican are more blunt. They accuse Democrats of ducking their responsibilities on a national energy policy.

In a Washington Times op-ed Thursday, Abraham calls for energy diversity ("We need an assortment of fuels"); increased domestic production; and a modernized energy infrastructure.

Our national security depends on our energy security, Abraham writes. "We can't run our fleet, fly our aircraft, or move our land forces without energy." Our economic security also depends on our energy policy, he continues: "Access to secure and affordable energy gives us confidence that American prosperity is sustainable."

In a message to the world's energy ministers, Secretary Abraham writes, "No one's interest is served by artificially high energy prices." He says even oil producers benefit from a "stable and growing global economy."

Daschle refuses to bring up energy bill

Abraham's op-ed comes at a time when Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is taking heat for refusing to schedule a vote on an energy bill. According to press reports, Daschle (D-S.D.) says the Senate doesn't have time to take up the energy bill before the end of the year.

Republicans say Daschle is holding up the bill because he knows there are enough votes to pass it, and he doesn't want that to happen. Daschle and other Democrats strongly oppose a provision in the bill that would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.

Republicans note that Daschle won't make time for the energy bill, but he has found time to make a Democratic fund-raising trip in December.

"It's beyond irresponsibility for the Senate majority leader to leave town for a week in order to substitute his party's political priorities for our national priorities," said House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

Several other Republicans also urged Daschle to cancel his fundraising trip so the Senate can get to work on the energy bill.
See Earlier Stories:
Hispanic Leaders to Daschle: We Want ANWR (8 Nov. 2001)
Norton, Senate Republicans Press Daschle for Energy Plan (26 Oct. 2001)