Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gas Prices spark fear of Backlash

The natives--and the press which writes stories each day about high gas prices--are restless, and the Republican Party is concerned it might haunt them at the ballot box.

When Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) toured a Veterans Affairs clinic Wednesday, the first question put to her was: "What are you going to do about the high price of gasoline?"

And a growing number of GOP officials worry that, as the party in power, Republicans will pay their own high price — at the ballot box. They are scrambling to find ways to respond.

"People are mad as hell," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

Oil prices, which hit an all-time high Wednesday, and gasoline prices are expected to be top items on the agenda when Congress returns from its monthlong recess after Labor Day.

As one of its first orders of business, the Senate will hold a hearing to examine the causes of the price increases, and oil executives might be summoned to testify.

"You can safely predict, with more accuracy than any TV weatherman, that the first blizzard of the year will be the blizzard of gas price legislation introduced this September when Congress comes back to town," said Stuart Roy, a former House GOP leadership aide.