WASHINGTON House Republicans pushed Tuesday for votes on legislation they say would increase oil supplies and lower gas prices, now averaging more than $4 per gallon.
Among Republican proposals are two bills that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and two that call for drilling in coastal waters.
But the GOP faces an uphill battle because the Senate rejected a measure last month to allow drilling in areas now off-limits to exploration. And Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, opposes drilling in the Arctic refuge.
"Every other country in the world looks at their natural resources and sees them as an economic asset," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. "Democrats in Washington look at our natural resources and see them as an environmental hazard. That's a mistake."
House Democrats argue that the GOP's call for increased production is a losing plan.
"More drilling," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., "that is the Johnny-one-note policy of the Republican Party, of the president, of this Republican leadership in the House."
Hoyer said drilling has increased "dramatically" and that the oil industry is "sitting on 10,000 permits that they aren't using," while gas prices continue to climb.
In the Senate, Republicans blocked a proposal to tax the windfall oil profits of the nation's largest oil companies. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., who voted to kill the measure, said he favors a plan to boost energy supplies and make bio-fuels more available.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Republicans "just don't get it."
"We can't drill our way out of this crisis," he said. "And we can't ignore it."