House Republicans Thursday scuttled a bill Democrats claimed could lower gas prices by forcing the release millions of barrels of oil from the national stockpile. Too bad for motorists, says Wisconsin congressman Steve Kagen , a proponent of the idea who says the president could still act. “What the president needs to do is to seriously consider releasing up to ten percent of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve ,” says Kagen, noting that similar releases in 1991, 2000 and 2005 meant immediate relief at the pump.
Despite winning a clear 268-157 majority, the measure still lost. Democratic leaders had brought it up for debate under rules requiring a two-thirds vote to pass. But passing the bill by just a majority would have meant allowing Republicans to force a vote on new offshore drilling leases.