This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have required the Environmental Protection Agency to submit a report to Congress determining whether an oil drilling bill would lower gas prices for consumers. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion to recommit was offered to legislation that would loosen regulations on air pollution caused by oil and gas drilling. In addition, the underlying oil drilling bill would eliminate the Environmental Appeals Board’s authority to review applications for oil drilling leases. Republicans had contended that the underlying oil drilling bill would lower the price of gasoline. This motion was nearly identical to an amendment offered by Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) during debate on the underlying oil drilling bill (see House roll call vote #475.)
Keating urged support for this motion to recommit: “Simply put, the underlying legislation is about risk versus reward. We know what the reward is: trillions of dollars of profit over the last decade for oil companies and preferred stock buybacks and bonuses for executives. We know what the proponents of this bill say the reward will be: lower gas prices at the pump. Now, what is the risk that we're looking at? The risk is existing jobs: existing jobs in the marine industry, the fishing industry, the tourism industry--industries that are among the most job-producing in my state and in the states of so many other people in this chamber. My amendment [motion to recommit] requires the administrator to determine whether or not this will lower gas prices for American citizens….This final amendment is a commonsense compromise, and regardless of how the members feel about the underlying legislation, this is something that we should all be able to support.”
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) opposed this motion to recommit: “Colleagues, I don't think our constituents will appreciate it if we put a big sign on the pump at the gas station that reads ``you're going to pay $3.50 a gallon for gas; you're going to pay $4 a gallon for gas'' while we study it, while a blue ribbon commission proceeds….Americans are tired of job-killing regulations. Americans are tired of the pain at the pump that they face each and every day…This amendment [motion to recommit] is one more stall, one more study, one more way to tell the American people that we're not interested in helping relieve the pain at the pump. We're going to study it. We're going to commission it. Then we're not going to do anything. This is 54,000 jobs and 1 million barrels of oil a day brought online from Alaska, creating jobs not just there but throughout the 48 States. The other day, I heard people talking about making it in America. `Make It in America.' Do you know what we need to make it in America? We need an energy policy that allows an abundant, affordable energy resource. To make it in America, we need opportunities to secure policies that don't overregulate and kill jobs. If you want to make it in America, reject this motion to recommit; develop American resources; put America back to work; and vote `yes' on the underlying bill.”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 177-245. Voting “yea” were 177 Democrats. 233 Republicans and 12 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have required the Environmental Protection Agency to submit a report to Congress determining whether an oil drilling bill would lower gas prices for consumers.