Blunt, Kyl Doubt Fall Energy Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, the second ranking Republican in the House, doubts Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can move a comprehensive energy bill before the next election.

"I don't think the speaker can move a bill that matters," Blunt said in an interview with Politico on Monday.

The Republicans' top vote counter in the House derided the energy proposals Pelosi articulated last month. In reversing her previous opposition to increased domestic exploration, the speaker suggested she would couple legislation opening more federally protected water for oil and gas drilling with a measure to repeal tax breaks and other royalty payments for big oil companies.

"If they had a real drilling provision," Blunt said, "it might be a problem."

But he suggested that limiting the number of states - Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia - that would be allowed to waive the federal ban on offshore drilling is "like your dad giving you the keys to the car when you're sixteen" only to say "you can only drive the car in the driveway."

"So far there is no real proposal out there that has anything to do with really looking for oil and natural gas," Blunt said.

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the Republican whip in the Senate, agreed with that assessment.
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