Musgrave joins GOP call for session on energy | AspenTimes.com

Musgrave joins GOP call for session on energy

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave is among 25 Republican House members still at work even though the rest of Congress left last week for a five-week summer break.

Musgrave and the others want Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call members back to vote on a comprehensive energy bill. Musgrave said in conference call Monday from Washington, D.C., that Congress shouldn’t be on vacation with the public struggling with high gasoline prices.

“We have a crisis in this country. Congress should not be on vacation,” Musgrave said.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., issued a statement Monday asking President Bush to call Congress back into session to pass a comprehensive energy bill.

Attempts to do that before the break failed largely due to a standoff between Republicans and Democrats over boosting domestic oil production. Republicans want to lift restrictions on offshore drilling while Democrats want oil companies to drill unused leases first.

Democrats have also proposed cracking down on oil market speculation and extending tax credits for renewable energy.

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Musgrave said she supports a range of options, including renewable energy, to deal with rising oil and gas prices. She has introduced a bill that would also invest some of the revenue from new oil exploration into a renewable energy trust fund and extend tax credits.

But Musgrave opposes financing tax credits by repealing tax breaks for oil companies, as Democratic bills proposed.

A swift response from Democrat Betsy Markey, who’s challenging Musgrave in November, underscored how political the nation’s energy woes are becoming as the election nears. Markey said she would have voted against adjourning, but described the GOP stayover at the Capitol as a political stunt.

“Marilyn Musgrave has been in Congress for 2,040 days,” Markey said. “Most of her congressional career has been when Republicans were in the majority in Congress and with a Republican president. What has she done?”

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he voted against adjourning last week, but plans to use the vacation as chance to talk to the public about energy and a new proposal by a bipartisan group of senators intended to lower gas prices and decrease reliance on foreign oil.

“That lays a foundation for us,” Udall said.

Udall missed the original vote on the recess resolution on Wednesday because he was traveling back to Washington from Colorado. Udall had vowed to vote against recessing during a debate with GOP Senate opponent Bob Schaffer and Schaffer’s campaign was quick to criticize Udall’s failure to vote. Udall voted against recessing when another vote was held on Friday.

Up to this point, Udall said Republicans seem to be “Johnny One Note on drilling.” He added that he supports some offshore drilling. He sponsored a proposal in 2006 to open leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Udall said he also advocates looking at expanding nuclear power, investment in new technology, requiring utilities to get some of their power from renewable energy sources and “massive investment in wind and solar.”

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