In a climate where everything from transportation issues to the farm bill have gotten caught in political gridlock, it will take serious willingness to compromise to get formerly bipartisan energy issues moving from the current partisan standstill.
“If we get the right political leadership and the willingness to put everything on the table, I don’t think this has to be a partisan issue,” former Rep. Jim Davis, D-Fla., said during a Republican National Convention event on Wednesday in Tampa hosted by National Journal and the American Petroleum Institute.
Former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi said that “Republicans who want to produce more of everything have to also be willing to give a little on the conservation side.”
The event focused on the future of energy issues and how they are playing out in the presidential and congressional races. Four years ago, the major presidential candidates both agreed that climate change needed to be addressed. However, since then, the science behind global warming has come into question by more and more Republicans.
But casting energy as a defense or jobs issue, in the current political climate, will allow debates between lawmakers to gain some steam, Lott and Davis agreed.
The export of coal and natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, and how tax reform will affect the energy industries are all issues that will have to be dealt with by the next president and Congress.
“The job of the next president is critical on energy and many of these issues, and the job is very simple: adult supervision of the Congress,” Davis said.
To that, Lott acknowledged that “Congress is gridlocked because of who is there.… The middle is gone.”
“I think Mitt Romney, not being of Washington, is going to need a little help to understand how to make Congress work,” he added.