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Power Breakfast: Echoes Of 'Drill Baby Drill'

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"The average price of gas in America today is $3.52," Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison says, "and I will tell you that I filled up my pickup truck last week and it was $50 for a pickup truck!"

Hutchison says part of the answer is bobbing idly in the Gulf of Mexico - off-shore drilling operations that have been on hold since the White House imposed a moratorium almost a year ago after the BP disaster.

"So what Senator Landrieu and I are trying to do is give this idle time back to the people who have paid for the leases and who are keeping their people employed," she says.

The Texas Republican is working closely with Senator Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat. "This is a blanket extension which makes perfect sense since there was a blanket moratorium placed on the industry," Landrieu says.

They're shopping a measure to extend for one year exploratory leases that were already in effect. "This legislation - I'm not even sure there should be any opposition to this, just from a common sense perspective," Landrieu says.

Her confidence notwithstanding, there's a range of opinions among her fellow Democrats in the Senate. From Maryland Senator Ben Cardin: "I think our caucus is prepared to move ahead with drilling."

To Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown: "I think our interest more is in taking away some of the tax incentives that oil companies have."

The bill to extend off-shore drilling permits isn't going anywhere until it has something like a nice appropriations bill to glom onto in the form of an amendment. First though, the Senate has to get past this year's spending package.

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