Reps. Jim Himes and Bryan Steil on What to Do About High Energy Prices

Jun 10, 2022
In The News

Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes is pessimistic about near-term relief from sky-high gas prices as the national average nears $5 a gallon. Rep. Himes, a supporter of President Biden, says the administration's options are limited. 

"There's really almost nothing that the Biden administration could do today that would have an impact on near-term energy prices," said Himes, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth.

His Republican counterpart on the committee is ranking member Rep. Bryan Steil, Republican of Wisconsin, and the two joined CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on "The Takeout" podcast this week.  Steil thinks the administration could do more to bring energy prices down. 

"I think we need to change course on our energy policy and unleash American energy to lower those costs," Steil told Garrett. He argues that ramping up domestic oil and gas production and restarting the Keystone XL pipeline project could ease prices, even though it would be years before oil flowing through the pipeline would hit the market.  

Those moves, Steil argued, could give investors confidence. "They've pulled back because they're concerned about obtaining full permits to get from exploration into full production." 

Himes fears such policies would just lead to environmental catastrophe. "If we just decided to do what some of my Republicans want to do, which is burn all the coal, burn all the gas, burn all the petroleum. Good luck for the next generation that'll be dealing with the problems of climate change." 

Their committee was created by Nancy Pelosi in 2020 to tackle wealth disparities in the U.S. economy. A Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this week found that 83% of Americans are unsatisfied with the current state of the economy.  

The congressmen also touched on gun violence, after recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.  

Himes, whose district borders the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, wants to see Congress take action on gun control. He'd like to see expanded background checks for gun purchases, an idea that is supported by a majority of Americans and currently under consideration in Congress. "Not only should we study it, by the way, let's have an honest conversation about this." 

But Steil is skeptical of federally funded studies of gun violence. "I think the broad concern is whether or not we're going to see a biased report from a federal agency rather than an unbiased report." 

 

117th Congress