The lead sponsor, Rep. Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenLawmakers say they're close to deal on CHIP funding Congress should stand for rural America by enhancing broadband connectivity Seven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation MORE (D-Texas), said approval of drilling permits is critical for job growth and U.S. energy security, but that only a few dozen permits have been approved since last October, when the administration lifted the deepwater drilling moratorium.

"As our country struggles to revive itself after a recession, those in the Gulf whose livelihoods depend on our offshore oil and gas production have another obstacle to making ends meet," Green said. "Twelve oil rigs have been forced to leave the Gulf as they sat idle over the last few months and more will certainly follow. If Interior fails to act on the pending permits, this negative economic impact will spread beyond the Gulf States and hit the nation as a whole."

Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Americans worried about retirement should look to employee ownership Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE (R-La.), the lead Republican sponsor, said rising energy prices are another key reason for easing the permit process.

"With so much unrest in the Middle East, it is critical that American energy production gets up and running again," he said. "These delays have severely hurt the hard-working men and women of the Gulf Coast, and continue to jeopardize our national security."

Aside from Green, other Democratic sponsors are Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeOvernight Cybersecurity: Feinstein shocks by releasing Fusion GPS testimony | House passes bill to boost oversight of cyber vulnerabilities | FBI director calls encryption 'public safety issue' House passes Homeland Security cybersecurity oversight bill American Airlines apologizes after accusing NBA G League players of stealing blankets MORE (Texas), Jim Costa (Texas), Mike Ross (Ark.), Cedric Richmond (La.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Silvestre Reyes (Texas), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThis week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Lewandowski: ‘We’ve got a real problem’ if Dems retake the House House Dems plan measure to censure Trump over 's---hole countries' remarks MORE (Texas), and Ruben HinojosaRuben Elroy HinojosaTurning the tables to tackle poverty and homelessness in rural America Ethics: Lawmakers didn’t ‘knowingly’ break rules with Azerbaijan gifts Dems heap praise on Pelosi for trade moves MORE (Texas).