WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- The United States is too reliant on foreign oil and should expand domestic drilling, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in the party's weekly address Saturday.
The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the country has risen by 40 cents to $3.50 in the past month, and Murkowski, the lead Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said President Barack Obama's Democrats needed to take action.
"If energy prices keep climbing, our nation could slip back into recession just as we're finally emerging from the last one," Murkowski said.
She called for a loosening of a moratorium on deep-water drilling Obama imposed after last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
"America now imports 11 million barrels of oil every day," she said. "Last year alone, we spent more than $330 billion on foreign oil, much of it in countries that are not our friends.
"Republicans know that it's past time to produce more of America's oil."
Friday, Obama called for a "comprehensive energy strategy" that would better utilize U.S. resources, but also begin a gradual transition away from fossil fuels.