WASHINGTON (AP) -- A partisan fight over price caps on Western electricity sales has brought a halt to House attempts to enact short-term energy legislation aimed at helping California deal with this summer's power crisis.
House Republicans said Wednesday they were no longer pursuing the legislation, but would concentrate on putting President Bush's long-term energy plan into law, beginning with a bill aimed at addressing refinery problems in making gasoline.
"We were no longer going to waste any more time to try to resolve an issue that can't be resolved," Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said in an interview, when asked about the dispute over electricity price caps.
Tauzin dismissed charges by Democrats that he was bottling up the legislation, fearing a price cap was gaining momentum and might pass the full House.
"I think we would have prevailed on the floor as well," said Tauzin, an opponent of the price cap legislation.
Amid astronomical power prices in California and other parts of the West, there has been growing political pressure in Congress for legislation to force federal regulators to take additional steps to rein in wholesale electricity prices that have been ten times what they were pre-crisis in 1999.
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