This vote was on an amendment that would allow four Gulf Coast states to receive more of the profits from leasing federally owned areas offshore to oil companies.
Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) introduced the amendment to a Republican bill that would open vast new stretches of publicly owned land to energy exploration. Rep. Landry’s amendment would raise the cap on the amount of revenue that four Gulf Coast states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas – can receive from the sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The amendment would raise the cap from $500 million to $750 million per year.
Rep. Landry argued that the amendment would ensure the four states received a fair share of the proceeds from offshore drilling.
“We are simply asking for fundamental fairness here in that the cap of $500 million be raised to $750 million,” Rep. Landry said.
Democrats argued that the amendment would divert money that belongs to all Americans – because it comes from the leasing of federally owned land – to benefit a small number of states.
“If this amendment passes, Mardi Gras will come on the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday this year. That's because the Landry amendment delivers up to $6 billion in a financial King Cake to Louisiana and to the other Gulf States at the expense of the other 46 States in the Union,” Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) said. “These oil and gas resources … are public resources that belong as much to someone living in Kansas, Massachusetts, or Hawaii as they do to someone living in Louisiana or Texas. These are resources that should help every American, not just a select few.”
Rep. Landry’s amendment was passed by a vote of 266-159. Voting “yea” were 228 Republicans and 38 Democrats. Voting “nay” were 149 Democrats, including a majority of progressives, and 10 Republicans. As a result, the House moved forward with legislation that would give four Gulf Coast states up to $750 million in revenue annually from allowing oil companies to drill in federal government-owned areas offshore.