The House of Representatives has made energy security, efficiency, and independence a top priority in the 108th Congress; in fact, passing comprehensive energy legislation twice, while the Senate continues to block passage. The United States is overdue for a comprehensive national energy policy. We must develop a balanced plan that will meet the needs of today while planning for the needs of future generations.
Americans are paying more for gasoline, natural gas, and home heating oil than ever before. As we approach the winter months, senior citizens and countless hard-working Americans are already beginning to worry about how they will be able to make ends meet while trying to afford heat for their homes. In addition, higher energy prices are affecting the bottom line of many small businesses and manufacturers.
I am concerned about the rising prices of gasoline. On my trips from Roanoke to Washington, I have been monitoring the soaring prices each week. With our economy on the rebound, it is critical that we not allow rising gas prices to have a negative impact on the recovery.
Folks continue to ask why gas prices keep rising. Although there are many factors contributing to the high prices of gas, it reinforces the need for a national energy plan. As gas prices rise to all-time highs, the need for an energy bill is greater than ever. Those in Congress who have been standing in the way of the national energy plan must put working Americans who can't afford $2-a-gallon gasoline ahead of partisan politics and help pass a package that will dramatically reduce gas prices and our dependence on foreign oil.
It is also time that we examine whether certain promising natural gas and oil reserves in federal lands should be opened to responsible and regulated exploration. I believe that it is possible to develop our natural resources while protecting our environment. Additionally, it is important to continue to develop sources of renewable energy. Renewable energy has a growing potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Affordable energy is the key to innovation and a strong economy. We must continue to secure abundant and affordable supplies of energy to move our nation forward. For lasting energy conservation and production, we must increase America's energy security by making the nation less dependent on foreign oil.
We cannot stand idly by as foreign countries conspire to gouge American consumers. As we lean more heavily on foreign countries for oil, we risk losing the independence, strength, and security that have been the hallmarks of our nation. Through a comprehensive energy policy based on exploration, innovation, and conservation, we can grow our economy, create quality jobs, and make America stronger.