Vitter blasts Republican drilling bill

The legislation “increases the burdens and requirements and hurdles of even the new Obama regulations that have been put in place since the BP disaster,” Vitter said on the floor Tuesday.

In addition, the legislation does not go far enough to expand domestic drilling, Vitter said, noting it does not require dramatic new lease sales in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off parts of the Pacific coast.

“I’m disappointed that the bill is so modest in terms of the increased access,” he said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a strong proponent of expanded domestic drilling, said Tuesday she is also opposed to the McConnell bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agreed to allow a test vote on the McConnell bill Wednesday. The bill is expected to fall short of the 60 votes need to pass.

He has also scheduled a vote Tuesday on a bill to eliminate billions in tax breaks for the five largest oil companies. That legislation also faces major hurdles to passage.

Vitter cast the votes on both bills as political posturing.

“There’s going to be a whole bunch of sound and fury in the end signifying nothing,” Vitter said.

This story was updated at 5:14 p.m.