Energy was Rep. Nathan Deal’s hot button issue last week as he toured the region meeting with constituents.
Deal, a Republican from Gainesville, wrapped up a four day trek across the 9th District on Thursday with town hall meeting stops in Dawsonville, Cumming, Cleveland and Gainesville.
While Congress adjourned until mid-September, Deal told a group at Appalachian Community Center in Dawsonville he voted against adjournment.
“I didn’t vote for the motion to adjourn because I did truly feel we had not done anything on this energy issue and we should do that before we go into a five week absence from Washington where you could do nothing,” he said.
Offshore drilling is at least part of the answer to the United States’ energy issue, he said, pointing to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to any oil drilling bills.
House Republicans unsuccessfully tried to attach language allowing offshore drilling onto a bill for military construction.
“We are still predominantly a petroleum-based system. And that’s why the drilling issue is so critical,” he said.
Deal also reiterated his support for drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, saying he had voted 14 times for exploration of the oil-rich area.
“We ought to be assessing that. It wouldn’t solve the problems, but it would help,” he said. “It would take just about 75 miles of pipe to connect to the existing Alaskan pipeline.”
At all of his stops, Deal drew applause for his support of the proposed “fair tax,” a national sales tax, which would replace the current income tax system.
But Deal said the bill, which has only 72 sponsors in the House, needs more support.
“You need to tell your friends in other districts to put the pressure on their member of Congress,” he said.
Deal, the ranking member of the Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, defended his vote in favor of a bill that reversed proposed cuts in Medicare.
Calculating an estimate of more than 35 percent of gross domestic product by the year 2082 to support Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Deal said, “I don’t think taxpayers will condone that.”
DCN Regional Staff Harris Blackwood contributed to this article.
E-mail Michele Hester at email@example.com.