Today, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 3893, a bill that will ultimately increase refining capacity through the construction of additional refineries nationwide. On a quick glance, this seems to be a smart move because with the onset of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita this past month, refining capacity was cut by 20% due to shutdowns. In turn this reduced capacity forced gas prices, NOT oil prices, to go through the roof causing an outcry of "GOUGING!" from liberal congressmen and women. Nevertheless, it took a monumental effort by House Republican leadership including the embattled former Majority Leader, Tom DeLay.
Now let's shift our focus from the positive passage of the bill to the negative fight it faced. In the end, not a one of the astoundingly united Democratic party officials voted for the measure. They even convinced 15 Republicans to join their fight which made the vote as close as it was.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) called this "a leave-no-oilman-behind bill."
"The bill weakens state and federal environmental standards ... and gives a break to wealthy oil companies while doing little or nothing to affect oil prices," Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said in a letter Thursday to colleagues.
It's important to understand a basic economic principle in this situation: few producers in a lucrative trade will receive large profits while many producers in the same trade will dilute the profits while increasing production. All ideologies aside, with so many politicians these days claiming to "represent the little people" or the "underrepresented groups" sure don't seem to put up when they have an opportunity to come through. With the construction of new refineries and a subsequent hike in production of oil's important byproducts, Americans would finally be able to expect a curb in gas prices for some time to come.
The truth never told by the "mainstream" media during the Hurricanes is that there never was an oil shortage, just a shortage in refined oil. This bill would hopefully alleviate some of this pressure from the marketplace and cause prices to settle to a more acceptable level for consumers. However with such seething opposition to such a measure that they claim would just serve "big-oil," Democrats continue to go back on their never-ending promise to "fight for the people."