House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) welcomed Biden’s announcement today and suggested to reporters that Democrats are increasingly weighing a “use or lose it” policy for energy companies holding federal leases for production who don’t use them. She said another possibility is assessing a fee on energy companies who hold federal leases but don’t pursue drilling.
Another option that has support among some Democrats is a federal rebate or direct payment to consumers to help lessen the impact of gas prices, Pelosi said. She said earlier proposals to provide that rebate via a federal gas tax holiday won’t work because there is no way to guarantee energy companies will pass along the savings.
“We cannot allow the fossil fuel industry to use this [war in Ukraine] as an excuse to reverse everything we are doing to save the planet,” she added.
In response to the White House announcement today, Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, accused the administration of trying to “cover up the ramifications of his disastrous anti-American energy policies.” Biden’s “desperate moves are not the solution — investing in American energy production is, and that includes oil and gas,” Daines said.