House Democrats offer slew of amendments to GOP drilling bills

  • Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) proposed an amendment that would require the governor of each coastal state to sign off on any new drilling.
  • Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), along with other Democrats, proposed an amendment that would cut oil-industry tax breaks.
  • Rep. Christopher Murphy’s (D-Conn.) amendment would direct revenue from the lease sales to pay for a low-income heating assistance program.

And here are some noteworthy amendments to a second bill authored by Hastings that would require that the Interior Department act on pending permit requests within 30 days. The bill has two 15-day extensions, but a permit is deemed approved if the department has not acted within 60 days. The bill will likely come up for a vote next week. See all of the amendments here.

  • Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) proposed an amendment to dramatically increase the liability cap on damages from an oil spill.
  • Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) called for renaming the bill the “Drilling a Bigger Hole in the Deficit Act.”
  • Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) proposed an amendment that would offset the costs of eliminating the federal fuel tax for 45 days by eliminating oil-industry tax breaks for major oil companies for one year.

The Rules Committee will likely reject many of the amendments this afternoon because they are not germane to the bill. But House Democrats plan to offer a motion Thursday to the lease sale bill that will force a vote on repealing a key oil industry tax break.

It’s all part of a broad effort by Democrats in the House and Senate to get Republicans on the record on the oil-industry subsidies, which been thrust into the public eye amid record oil industry profits and high gas prices.