Democrats continue to press for oil company tax hikes as amendments to drilling bills

Democrats, in contrast, say drilling wold do nothing to lower prices in the short term,. They also argue that oil companies are gouging U.S. consumers, and that Congress should focus on raising taxes on oil companies. Democrats continue to describe tax breaks to oil companies as tax subsidies.

"I'm amazed my colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to be apologists for big oil," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Wednesday on the floor.

"What's particularly outrageous is they're making all this money and my friends on the other side of the aisle continue to protect the subsidies and the tax breaks that they get," he said. "It's outrageous. They cut money for poor families trying to heat their homes in the winter, and on the other hand they go out of their way to protect big oil from any amendments that we can bring to the floor here to be able to go after these subsidies and tax breaks."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) today released his bill, H.R. 1813, which would raise $37 billion in taxes on oil companies and refund that money to U.S. drivers. Connolly has said this bill would effectively lower gas prices by 27 cents per gallon.

The House began debate for a rule on H.R. 1231 shortly after noon on Wednesday, and finished at 1:30 p.m., with a vote to come later in the day. That bill, the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act, would require offshore oil and gas leases to allow for drilling in areas with the most potential for the recovery of energy resources, and sets a domestic oil and gas production goal.

While it makes several Democratic amendments in order, it does not make any amendments in order that would increase taxes on oil companies.

The House on Wednesday will also consider H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act.

-- This story was updated at 1:32 p.m.