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Roundtable on the House Drilling Bill

Roundtable on the House Drilling Bill

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - September 17, 2008

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATHY CASTOR, (D) FLORIDA: I congratulate Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her leadership in crafting this compromise future oriented bill. And I thank my colleagues and the American people for their commitment to a new energy people for America.

REP. MICHAEL ROGERS, (R) MICHIGAN: What this bill does is it says "no" to more than it says "yes." You want to hurt somebody so bad, oil companies, Alaskans, middle-class families, you are in such a hurry to do that, you have created a bill that hurts them more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: This is a bill that passed the House of Representatives that allows, it says, drilling in some offshore areas and therefore responds to the public's desire to have drilling to complement whatever other energy efforts are being made.

Republicans, who have been screaming for a vote to permit drilling, say this bill doesn't go nearly far enough, not least because all the drilling would be at least outside 50 miles, an inside 50 miles is where all the fuel is.

Anyway, we're back with our panel to discuss this. This thing doesn't look like it will pass the Senate because it allows too much drilling, I guess.

But what about the politics of this? Have the Democrats succeeded, in the House at least, with this bill in taking this issue away from the Republicans and giving Democratic lawmakers something to hang their hat on the issue of drilling?

BARNES: It would help if they were going to actually pass a bill, and they're not going to. But they will have something to say, "Well look-

HUME: "We passed it through the house."

BARNES: "We passed it through the house." And it goes farther than that crazy proposal of the "gang of ten," now the "gang of 20" in the Senate which would only allow some drilling off four states.

This allows drilling in the offshore areas everywhere, except it's 50 miles out, and so many of the most valuable areas that would be the most productive are inside 50 miles. They're not on the beach. And so the idea would be to have them out of sight but yet a lot closer than 50 miles.

But it doesn't make any difference because none of this stuff is going to pass.

In answer to your question, though, have Democrats helped themselves a little bit politically? Probably so.

KONDRACKE: Gallup had a poll last week asking people whether they're satisfied with the way the federal government is handling their problems, and 79 percent say dissatisfied, 51 percent say very dissatisfied.

And this is why. You know, the country understands that we got to have and all of the above energy policy. Finally the Republicans bludgeon Nancy Pelosi into producing a bill that includes some offshore drilling.

And what do the Democrats do but pass a bill that basically is designed to fail, and fundamentally because the Senate will never pass it, and the reason for that is that the states where there is going to be offshore drilling have no incentive to allow it.

I mean, they have--it can only happen if they say "yes," agree to it, and they don't get any revenue sharing.

So it's not going to happen. And so this big problem, another big problem of America, is not going to be solved by this congress.

KRAUTHAMMER: Surprise, in an election year.

Look, it is entirely political. The part on drilling is a sham, a fraud, and a deception. If I had a thesaurus I would continue on this. It is unbelievable.

As you indicated, a, it is restricted to outside of 50 miles. And, incidentally, it is the stuff inside that actually will produce quickly, within a year or two some of those well, and it would give lie to the Democratic argument that all of the stuff offshore is a decade or two away. Some of it is near and would be available quickly.

And, secondly, also as you indicated, the states get nothing out of this. You want to give them incentive. It denies any royalties. There will be trillions in royalties that will all end up in the federal treasury.

So it is designed, a, to fail in the Senate, and, secondly, to fail as a way to achieve the drilling. So it is a perfect deception at every level.

However, I think it might work, unless Republicans--

HUME: You mean politically?

KRAUTHAMMER: --can explain in 30 seconds why it is a sham, it will work. A Democrat will stand up and say I supported drilling, it passed in the House, and it was killed because the extremist who wanted to destroy the environment opposed it. It might work.

HUME: Well, it's actually being opposed in the Senate by the people who claim they want to protect the environment.

KRAUTHAMMER: All of it is so contradictory and absurd. It has nothing on nuclear.

And it is kill drilling bill. It is meant to ensure that we are not going to have any within a decade or two at a time when we are in a crisis, and it's available, it would create American jobs, and it would give us a lot of energy independence and help our balance of payments.

It has all the arguments in favor of it, and Democrats are killing it.

KONDRACKE: In the generic congressional ballot, it used to be that the Democrats had a 15-point lead on who you would vote for. It is down to three, you know. They are not trusted.

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