This story appeared in the Knoxville, TN paper on 6/28 - sorry if already posted.
Shuler upset with cohorts
N.C. Dem says many play politics instead of doing best for country
By Michael Collins (Contact)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
In surprisingly blunt language, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler complained this week of "a lack of maturity" in the U.S. House.
The North Carolina Democrat accused some of his fellow lawmakers of thinking they're "Hollywood stars" and said many of them spend more time playing politics than doing what's best for the country.
"It's quite embarrassing," he said. "I mean, I wish all constituents could sit sometimes in the gallery and just see what goes on on the House floor."
Shuler, of Waynesville, N.C., who is serving his first term in Congress, said he knew of Washington's reputation for fierce partisanship before he was elected.
But he said he has been frustrated and disappointed by the degree to which some lawmakers put political gain above what's in the country's best interests.
"I was hoping that the two political parties would work together for America instead of (emphasizing) political differences," he said. "But, in fact, what I keep seeing is this continuation of working for the political parties first and (for) power here in Washington.
"We need to do what's right for America first."
"Whether it's in the committees or on the House floor, I see a lack of maturity, quite frankly, in this house of Congress, where members are actually fighting against one another for their own political posturing or political game of power," he said.
In what appeared to be a rebuttal to Chabot, Shuler said oil and gas companies already hold leases on nearly 68 million acres of federal land that could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. That would nearly double total U.S. oil production and would increase natural gas production by 75 percent, he said.
"But yet we stand on the House floor, and people kind of think they're Hollywood stars because of C-SPAN, and we talk about (drilling in Alaska) and talk about it when we haven't even united together as a body, the people's House, and said what can we do to better our country," Shuler said.