U.S. President George W. Bush lifted on Monday an executive ban on offshore oil drilling, while calling on Congress to act as well.
President George W. Bush walks out of the Oval Office before talking about offshore oil drilling in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington July 14, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
"The American people are watching the numbers climb higher and higher at the pump and they're waiting to see what the Congress will do," Bush told reporters at.
"Now the ball is squarely in Congress' court," said the president. "The time for action is now."
"Failure to act is unacceptable," he said, noting Americans are "paying at the pump."
There are two prohibitions on offshore drilling, one imposed by Congress and another by executive order signed by former President George H.W. Bush in 1990.
Bush, in his final months of office, has repeatedly urged the Democrats-dominant Congress to lift legislative restrictions on such activity before they begin a recession in August.
The U.S. economy suffers from gasoline prices hike that has reached over 4 U.S. dollars a gallon (3.785 liter), and U.S. Congress and the White House are stressing different ways to ease the oil crisis.
The White House insisted that increase in U.S. oil drilling will help to deal with the soaring gas prices.
"Crude oil prices are up and one reason crude oil prices are up is because demand is outstripping supply," the president said last week.
"Now the only thing standing between consumers at the pump and the increased American energy they are demanding is the Democrat leadership in Congress," also said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "We should act and act now."