The downward pressure on the price of oil continues, although not as strong as the past few trading days. At the end of the day, it was $117 (down $.22 from yesterday). Oh, and the Dow was up 40 points.
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich showed up today  at the Capital to show support for the GOP Protest. During his time in front of the cameras, he said that Republicans may consider shutting down the government by not allowing action on government spending bills required to replace the ones expireing on September 30. This was done during his tenure as Speaker in 1995 and 1996… and blew up in Newt’s face. I don’t think this is a particularly healthy maneuver for Republicans to make if they want to maintain the growing constituent support they are enjoying.
Meanwhile, the effort of House Republicans continues. John Boehner’s office evidently sent out this memo  to the rest of the House Republican contingent to advise when they can come back to Capital during the next 2 weeks.
Boehner also extended an invitation today to John McCain to join the protest. From Captain Ed :
John Boehner extended an invitation to John McCain  yesterday to join the House Republican caucus in their rebellion against Democratic stonewalling on a vote on drilling. McCain had offered to come off the campaign trail if Barack Obama would also agree to do so and join Congress in an open debate and an open vote to rescind the federal moratorium on drilling in the OCS and interior. The House Minority Leader [told] McCain to come regardless of Obamaâ€™s participation.
Clearly it makes sense for McCain to join in this event. The downside is that it might cause him to miss the Iowa State Fair… us Iowan may not end up appreciating that, but I think it’s worth it.
Today’s updates from Boehner’s web site  include this help set of answers to some of the rhetoric that Democrats are promoting:
Washington, Aug 6  – As House Republicans continue their nationwide gas price protest  â€“ on the floor of the House and in communities across the nation â€“ the Democratic Majority finds itself in a most uncomfortable position. Less than a week ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) adjourned the House for a five-week break, leaving American families, seniors, small businesses, schools , and charities  to suffer more pain at the pump. But Republicans refused to relent in their fight for more American energy and instead chose to take their strategy for lower gas prices directly to Americans visiting the Capitol, as well as those in congressional districts throughout the country.
Backed into a corner, House Democrats are scrambling in a desperate attempt to look like they have a real plan to lower gas prices on behalf of the American people. And in order to do that, theyâ€™ve taken some liberties with the fact. Following are just a handful of the myths peddled by Democratic leaders today, along with facts to put these myths to rest:
MYTH: â€œRepublicans only pay â€˜lip serviceâ€™ to alternative energy, but they are not truly interested in itâ€¦ If we followed the Republican plan, our nation would continue to be at the mercy of other nations for our energy supply and economic strength.â€
FACT: Anyone who can make such a statement clearly has not read the American Energy Act  (H.R. 6566), the House Republicansâ€™ plan to lower gas prices by increasing production of American energy, promoting more conservation and efficiency, and encouraging more use of alternative and renewable fuels. In reality, the American Energy Act  includes several provisions to encourage the use of alternative and renewable fuels, including:
- Awarding a monetary prize to the first entrepreneur to develop an economically feasible, super-fuel-efficient vehicle (reaching 100 miles-per-gallon);
- Establishing a renewable energy trust fund using revenues generated by exploration in the deep ocean and on the Arctic coastal plain;
- Eliminating barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production;
- Permanently extending the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind, solar and hydrogen;
- Repealing the prohibition on government purchasing of alternative energy; and
- Promoting coal-to-liquids technology.
MYTH: â€œDemocrats agree that we need increased domestic drilling, and we have pushed oil companies to explore the 311 million acres already available to them, especially the 68 million acres, 33 million of which is in the OCS, where they hold leases but are not drilling.â€
FACT: This false claim was put to rest weeks ago, though Democrats desperately attempt to revive it again and again in lieu of a real strategy to lower gas prices. The fact is, the so-called â€œuse it or lose itâ€ rule is already the law of the land, and Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) should know that because they voted for it  all the way back in 1992.
When an energy company gets a lease, there is no guarantee that there is oil or natural gas present under the leased lands. If oil is present, exploration, siting, and development can take up to a decade before any new energy is produced. So the land Democrats are talking about either has no recoverable energy resources, those resources are currently being developed, or they have already been developed. The entire process can take years.
MYTH: â€œ[Democrats] have also encouraged increased exploration in Alaska.â€
FACT: Democrats like to claim they are for energy production in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), but the facts just donâ€™t back it up. To begin, a provision in the Democratsâ€™ energy bill last year â€“ part of the â€œSix for â€˜06â€ â€“ actually would discourage development  in that same area.
But Democrats also refuse to recognize that because of the geological conditions in the NPR-A, a much larger â€œfootprintâ€ is required for energy exploration there compared to an area just east of NPR-A on a small, 2,000 acre patch of the 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Energy production and wildlife can safely coexist â€“ in part because it already has for decades, throughout Alaska and across the country. That is why increased American-made energy exploration is such a key part of the House GOPâ€™s â€œall of the above â€ energy strategy.
No amount of empty rhetoric will change the fact that Speaker Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues are on the wrong side of public opinion on the most important issue facing the American people. As House Republicans continue their nationwide gas prices protest on the House floor and in communities across the country, the American people are asking: How much longer will the Democratic Majority continue to distort the facts in the energy debate? How much longer will Democratic leaders block a vote on more American-made energy to lower gas prices?
GOP Leader Blogâ€™s Live-Blogging Coverage of the Historic Floor Revolt  Flashback: Democrats Block GOP Proposal to Ease Energy Squeeze for Americaâ€™s Charities  (8/6/08) America Speaks Out: Scores of Americans Join the House GOPâ€™s Nationwide Gas Price Protest  (8/5/08)
The “If you don’t vote for me, I won’t vote for you!” is getting under way. I’m hoping to start a groundswell of support for this slogan. I hope to have t-shirts shortly… stay tuned!
And lastly, there’s a new site  devoted to all things related to getting Congress to vote on energy policy.