Over the past few weekends, I’ve held multiple events in my largely rural south-central Michigan district to hear firsthand how high gas prices are affecting my constituents. One single mother offered remarks which I found particularly memorable.
She shared how she drives an hour, from Adrian to Ann Arbor, each way to the hospital where she works. Because of high gas prices, she recently requested and received permission to begin working back to back 8 hour shifts, two days per week, so she doesn’t have to make the hour long commute each day.
This remarkable woman then shared something that really struck me. She said that in a couple years, when her daughter turns 16, handing her daughter the keys to the family car will be an extremely stressful experience. But unlike when she was a teenager and her father was worried about her driving abilities and the car’s safety, this mother is worried she won’t be able to afford to pay for the gas her daughter will use to take the family car out and have a good time.
This is just one example of how real Americans outside the D.C. beltway are struggling to pay for gas. All across our great country and especially in rural areas, Americans can barely afford prices over $4 a gallon.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress will not allow any legislative action to increase American energy production. Instead they continue to push for tax increases on energy and offer silly proposals like having trial lawyers sue OPEC and requiring oil companies to drill on land where oil likely does not exist. The Democrat plan to tax, sue and mandate the Jed Clampett oil exploration method (no scientific research, just drill on the ground you have) will surely fail.
Republicans in the House are working daily to push for more American energy production. We have introduced, fought for and demanded votes on legislation to immediately drill in places like the Gulf of Mexico, ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf and to increase our refinery capacity.
By passing Republican energy legislation, we could bring more American-produced gasoline to the market and lower gas prices. In my district, I’ve held numerous events related to energy policy to try and loudly proclaimed to my constituents my efforts to increase American energy production. House Republicans across the country are doing the same while the Democrat Leadership stands in the way.
So you can imagine my frustration when conservative radio host Sean Hannity recently criticized Congressional Republicans for failing to act on energy policy. Mr. Hannity, have you been paying no attention? House Republicans need your help to galvanize the American people behind our legislation to increase American energy production. The American people look at you and Rush Limbaugh, the king of talk radio, as leaders of the conservative movement, and we need you to highlight our efforts.
Last week, Rush said, “Frankly, I'm a little tired of hearing Republicans tell us that they can't win. I'm tired of Republicans telling us how many seats they expect to lose in the Senate, how many they expect to lose in the House of Representatives, that this isn't their year. BS. This year has been served up on a silver platter. People vote with their pocketbooks, and Democrats are wrong on the biggest issue since 9/11.”
Rush is exactly right. Republicans can and should win the upcoming election, but to achieve victory, we need the American people to know that House Republicans are fighting daily for more energy exploration, more refineries and more nuclear energy to move American toward energy independence, while the Democrats stand in the way of American production.
We need conservative leaders to talk about bills like Rep. Mac Thornberry’s No More Excuses Energy Act (H.R. 3089), which would increase the supply of energy produced in America. Or Rep. Joe Pitts’ bill (H.R.2279) to build new oil refineries on closed military bases. The list of Republican pro-production initiatives goes on and on.
As a first-term Congressman, I have a target on my back and will likely face a well-funded, anti-production Democrat this fall. Many of my colleagues are in the same situation. The only way Democrats win this fall is if those who talk with tens of millions of Americans each day fail to share Republican efforts to increase American energy production, and Americans cannot afford the consequences of that silence from the right.
Tim Walberg is currently in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Michigan’s Seventh District, which includes Branch, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee counties and parts of Calhoun and Washtenaw counties.