What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Oil & Gas Industry : H. Res. 219. Energy/Procedural Vote on Question of Whether Energy Bill Violates Federal Law Because It Would Impose Costs on States without Paying Those Costs. (2005 house Roll Call 112)
 Who: All Members
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H. Res. 219. Energy/Procedural Vote on Question of Whether Energy Bill Violates Federal Law Because It Would Impose Costs on States without Paying Those Costs.
house Roll Call 112     Apr 20, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House determined that the rule for H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (A rule sets forth what amendments House members may offer, how much time each side will be permitted to speak, how long the debate can last, etc. A vote on the rule usually reflects existing support and opposition for the underlying legislation and/or loyalty to one's party.), was in order and the House could proceed to consideration of the energy bill. Progressives raised a point of order (interruption in the proceedings contending that consideration of the pending legislation or other current business is improper and violates the Constitution or other law or House rules; points of order take precedence over pending legislation and must be resolved before the House can continue its other business) against the rule, arguing that the rule-which, if adopted, would waive all points of order against the bill-was out of order because federal law forbids waivers of points of order against unfunded mandates, or provisions in bills that would impose costs on the states without providing funding to cover those costs. Specifically, Progressives-and a number of other Democrats-argued that a provision in the energy bill would shield oil companies from liability associated with the fuel additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether). MTBE has been the subject of numerous lawsuits alleging that it has polluted drinking water, and Democrats criticized Republicans' efforts to shield oil companies from liability. Protecting oil companies, explained Democrats, would impose up to $29 billion of clean-up costs on the states themselves. Republicans countered that the energy bill would direct that some money from an existing trust fund of $2 billion go toward the cost of MTBE cleanup, and that fundamental questions concerning MTBE had still not been resolved, including the question of whether MTBE is itself a defective product. Progressives lost this vote 231 to 193. Thus, the House proceeded to consideration of the energy bill despite Progressives' contention that the bill contained costs to the states without providing funding to cover those costs.

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