With the grim announcement today of the unemployment rate ticking up to 9.1 percent and only 54,000 jobs created in May, nearly 100,000 short of the estimated number, the issues of creating jobs by putting our domestic energy companies back to work is taking center stage in Congress.
Yesterday, in the House of Representatives, offshore drilling was the hot topic with three committees holding hearings on the issue. Manufacturers know that resuming drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and increasing domestic energy production will help invigorate our embattled economy and add more jobs to the payrolls.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a measure yesterday to streamline permitting for offshore drilling operations and to eliminate the bureaucratic red tape that holds up new exploration and production. According to the Committee, the measure will help create jobs and increase domestic energy supplies.
In the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chairman Issa released a report critical of the BP/Administration Response to the Gulf Oil Spill and also held a hearing assessing the recovery efforts after the spill. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Director Michael Bromwich from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement at the Department of the Interior, both testified.
And in round three of hearings, the House Natural Resources Committee , Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on Alaskan oil and gas drilling, and the need for faster action in the permitting process. The subcommittee stressed the importance of expediting exploration and production to reduce dependence on foreign oil and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
As summer goes on and gas prices hover around four dollars a gallon, unemployment continues to tick up, the cost of goods and services rises, domestic energy production will continue to remain in the forefront of congressional debates.