Last Chances Before The Dems Rule

The lame duck Congress offers a small window for Republicans to strengthen the US economy to face the Socialist onslaught – here’s an example.

WSJ ($):

Congress will return for one more lame-duck go-round after Thanksgiving, and if it wants an easy victory for the U.S. economy it’ll whip through the offshore drilling bill that has passed the Senate and awaits action in conference.

The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, crafted by New Mexico’s Pete Domenici, would open 8.3 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and natural gas drilling.

As recently as 1995, the average cost for natural gas in the U.S. was about $1.70 per million British Thermal Units; by 2002 it was $3.54. It had climbed by 400% by last year, when it ranged from $11 to $14.50 per million BTUs. Japan, China, India and most of the rest of the world pay far less, putting U.S.-based companies at a huge global disadvantage…

The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that 3.1 million high-wage manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000 largely due to inadequate supplies of natural gas…

All of this is reason for Congress to act now. Gulf Coast Democrats are supporting this Senate bill, largely because it offers their states a cut of the royalties. The House has passed a much stronger bill, and in a better world would prevail.

But with coastal, anti-drilling Democrats set to run Congress next year, now is the time for the House to swallow its pride, pass the Senate version without amendment to avoid a conference, and send it to President Bush.

This is just a start – there’s plenty of gas on the outer shelf:

…the outer shelf is estimated to hold an extraordinary 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to keep the U.S. in affordable energy for decades.

But that’ll have to wait until the next Republican Congress – or for Saudi oil to dry up…

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