What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Oil & Gas Industry : (H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230) Legislation requiring the Secretary of the Interior to approve or deny offshore oil drilling leases within 30 days of receiving an application, as well as a separate bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia’s coast that had been cancelled or delayed by the Obama administration – On bringing to a final vote the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to both bills (2011 house Roll Call 293)
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(H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230) Legislation requiring the Secretary of the Interior to approve or deny offshore oil drilling leases within 30 days of receiving an application, as well as a separate bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia’s coast that had been cancelled or delayed by the Obama administration – On bringing to a final vote the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to both bills
house Roll Call 293     May 05, 2011
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This was a procedural vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation (H.R. 1229) requiring the Secretary of the Interior to approve or deny offshore oil drilling leases within 30 days of receiving an application, as well as a separate bill (H.R. 1230) requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia’s coast that had been cancelled or delayed by the Obama administration. If passed, this particular procedural motion--known as the “previous question"--effectively ends debate and brings the pending legislation to an immediate vote. Under the first bill (H.R. 1229), if the Secretary failed to act on a drilling permit within 60 days, it would be “deemed approved.”

Following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the Obama administration imposed an offshore drilling moratorium. The administration lifted that moratorium, however, in May 2010. Despite lifting the moratorium, however, Republicans argued that the administration had been too slow in approving leases for drilling, and contributed to high gasoline prices. The Obama administration (and many congressional Democrats) countered that it was seeking to improve drilling safety in order to prevent another oil spill disaster.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bills: “I hate to say this, but under President Obama, the cost of energy has skyrocketed. The administration has actively blocked and delayed energy production. It's cost jobs. It's raised energy prices. It's made the United States more reliant on unstable foreign countries for our energy.…this House is actively working to increase American energy production to lower gas prices, to create American jobs, to generate revenue to help reduce the deficit, and to decrease our dependence on foreign energy….These two bills are the first of several signals that this House wants to send to the world and to the economy that says our goal should be to come as close to economic and energy self-sufficiency and independence as possible.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) opposed the resolution and the underlying bills: “These bills would make offshore drilling more dangerous for offshore workers, 11 of whom died on the Deepwater Horizon [where the explosion that caused the BP oil spill occurred]. These bills would make offshore drilling more dangerous for the environment, which was coated with 4.1 million barrels of oil along the Gulf Coast and is killing fish and wildlife in the area to this day as a result of BP's recklessness. These bills would make offshore drilling more dangerous for our national security because they reinforce the complete myth that America can somehow drill our way out of dependence on oil. And these bills are more dangerous for the economy, risking destroying fishing and tourism jobs in affected areas. But one thing these bills do not do is make filling up at the pump any more affordable at all for American families….So if this legislation isn't about reducing the price at the pump, what is it about? It's about exploiting our legitimate concerns about high gas prices to deliver another huge giveaway to Big Oil, an industry that made over $35 billion in profits in the last quarter alone. Meanwhile, the majority refuses to end Big Oil's nearly $50 billion of special interest tax breaks.”

The House agreed to the previous question motion by a vote of 241-171. All 234 Republicans present and 7 Democrats voted “yea.” 171 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to a final vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation requiring the Secretary of the Interior to approve or deny offshore oil drilling leases within 30 days of receiving an application, as well as a separate bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia’s coast that had been cancelled or delayed by the Obama administration.

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