GOP: Energy Votes to Proceed Amid Obama's Big Moment

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$4-a-gallon gas in Soho (photo by Kate Hinds)

(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) The killing of Osama bin Laden has changed a lot in the world. But it won't change GOP plans to take aim at the president and his energy policy later this week.

That's because House leaders plan to go ahead with a series of votes designed to place blame on President Obama for high gas prices.

The White House's announcement of its successful raid on bin Laden has upended schedules around Washington as praise flows Obama's way from all sides of the political spectrum. The House will recess today while CIA chief Leon Panetta briefs them on the attack. The president has added a trip to New York City to his schedule that will include a visit to Ground Zero on Thursday.

Moments of national unity like this often cause congressional leaders to take a pause from partisan fights. But two bills designed to stoke Republican frustration over Obama's domestic oil drilling policy will go forward as planned, according to GOP aides.

"We don't plan to change the schedule for this week at all," one senior House GOP aide said.

That means a pair of bills -- the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act and the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act -- will still go forward with planned votes on Thursday, the aide said.

The first bill requires the Obama Administration to restart drilling lease sales off the coast of Virginia and in the Central Gulf of Mexico. The second gives the Secretary of the Interior 60 days to review new Gulf drilling applications -- but deems them approved if the deadline isn't met.

Gas prices are near a record high nationwide, a problem putting a drag on the economy and posing political risks for President Obama. Republicans were planning to drive home this week with the votes, pointing up the party's position that increased domestic oil production is key to improving supply and weening the US off of foreign sources of oil.

House Speaker John Boehner made news late last week when he appeared ready to discuss an Obama Administration plan to repeal one of several tax subsidy programs for oil companies. The subsidy in question is worth about $4 billion per year.

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