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Congress Tries To Ease Gas Squeeze

Republicans say Americans are paying more for gas because the Clinton administration has been "asleep at the wheel."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert blames the administration's energy policy. He says oil-producing countries that the U.S. has helped - Kuwait and Mexico, to name two - aren't reciprocating when it comes to oil production.

Hastert says the administration needs to get tougher with these countries.

The speaker won't say if congressional Republicans plan to suspend a four-cent-per-gallon gas tax imposed seven years ago.

California Congressman George Radanovich says mothers are having to choose between a gallon of milk and a gallon of gas.

Members of Congress will be looking for ways to ease the pinch of rising gas prices when Energy Secretary Bill Richardson goes before a House panel today.

Richardson thinks the situation will improve once OPEC members meet later this month and vote to increase production.

Some estimates put the cost of suspending the tax at $7 billion a year. That's money that states would normally get for roads, bridges and mass transportation.

GOP leaders are now shifting their focus to criticizing the administration's efforts to persuade the OPEC countries to increase supplies.

The GOP also wants the U.S. to do more to increase domestic oil production.