MR. HEMMER: Breaking news now from Capitol Hill -- we shared it with you 30 minutes ago -- a gang of 10 senators unveiling a compromise bill on energy. This as Congress is set to adjourn for its August break. And as Congress leaves, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline, unleaded, just below $3.90 a gallon, $3.89.
Florida Congressman Adam Putnam is here, House Republican Conference chairman; and Congressman Jay Inslee, Democrat of Washington, who's on the House Energy Committee. And gentlemen, welcome.
To you, Congressman Putnam, we've got some details now that include targeted production of domestic energy resources. Can you define that according to the Senate version?
REP. PUTNAM: Well, you know, this is breaking news, but it proves that there is overwhelming bipartisan support for an all-of- the-above strategy that includes conservation, includes renewables and includes more domestic production. But you -- you just can't get past the fact that Congress is about to go home for five weeks without having dealt with this problem, and that's the reason why Congress' approval ratings at are 9 percent.
MR. HEMMER: In a word, based on what you know from what the senators are proposing, this group of 10, would you vote for it?
REP. PUTNAM: Well, yeah. If it increases production in the United States, puts an emphasis on renewables, opens up areas that are currently closed off for exploring for oil and gas, absolutely. We need to move forward on all fronts.
MR. HEMMER: So you're on board.
Jay Inslee, have you seen the Senate version or gotten wind of these particulars? And if so, would you vote for it?
REP. INSLEE: Haven't seen it, but I would love to see a Republican epiphany. Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues have been none of the above when it comes to our renewable sources: solar power, wind power, advanced lithium-ion battery. They've been voting against the three provisions we've already passed out of the House to do that. If my Republican friends will join us to really put their votes where their propaganda is, then we'll have a consensus to really move something forward. That hasn't happened so far.
MR. HEMMER: Sir, apparently -- apparently that was part of that bill, or part of the proposal, anyway, that we heard 30 minutes ago.
Gentlemen, here's what I want to know from both of you. Who is down -- here's what I hear: can't go nuclear, it takes too long; can't go alternative energy, takes too long; can't drill, takes too long to get it. Who down there in Washington, Congressman Putnam, is saying let's challenge American ingenuity and creativity and get that stuff out of the ground within 12 months, or make the wind power more affordable, or get the solar power done? Who is saying that, hey, we can do this, we just need to commit to it?
REP. PUTNAM: House Republicans. House Republicans are saying do all of those things. If was the Democratic president who vetoed drilling in ANWR 10 years ago, and yet they still say we can't drill in ANWR because it takes 10 years to produce. You can't have it both ways.
We are committed to the renewables -- the solar, the wind -- but we're also committed to the fact that for the transition period, for the near term, you're going to have to have more domestic exploration of oil and gas. Otherwise, we're going to keep sending the Saudis $700 billion a year in American hard-earned money with nothing to show for it except greater dependence on people who don't like us.
MR. HEMMER: All right. I've got some breaking news to get to, but Jay Inslee, same question. Who is challenging the American people to get this done?
REP. INSLEE: We are. I have a bill called the New Apollo Energy Project, and it is clear that we still have the right stuff to be able to do in clean energy what we did in space in the '60s. And I believe we can develop ultimately a consensus to get that done.
But unfortunately, although I appreciate my friend's discussion of this, the votes for them have not been there. They're against solar energy, they voted against --
MR. HEMMER: You say you're willing to compromise. I heard Adam Putnam say he was willing to compromise. So we'll let you guys go off, have your little meeting --
REP. INSLEE: You bet. (Laughs.)
MR. HEMMER: -- and get back to us when you're ready to cut us a deal, okay?
REP. INSLEE: All right. (Laughs.)
MR. HEMMER: Thank you, gentlemen.