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Mostly Partisan Lines in Oil Drilling Vote

By Judith Ayers, Contributing Writer

Sorry we missed this in all the hubbub over last week’s primaries.

A contentious debate is going on in Washington between the Democratic Party and the GOP about the future of energy. While both parties seek energy independence, they are both still fighting on how to get there.  The House voted May 11th on H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, passing it by a vote of 263-163.

Both parties are still at an impasse regarding this issue, the GOP says that the Putting the Golf back to Work Act will lead to greater domestic energy production. Democrats, however say that it is a handout to big oil.

Republican representatives are being blamed for supporting “big oil” and being blamed for high gas prices; they, ”voted to protect oil companies by blocking a measure that would have forced oil companies to sell American oil in the United States to help lower gas prices. Under the measure, oil produced under domestic leases would be sold only in the U.S.”

A statement from Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson boasts, “Bipartisan support is growing in the effort to increase American energy production and both sides of the aisle recognize this work as critical to long-term energy security and bolstering job growth across the country. The House in bipartisan fashion has shown its willingness to place policy before politics by passing these three bills that will remove the impediments to domestic energy development and begin to address the burden of $4 gallon gas at the pump. I ask my colleagues in the Senate to heed this bipartisan call for energy security by passing these critical pieces of legislation.”

However, It is hard to see that bipartisan support when looking at the final vote for H.R. 1229. With an almost clean split down the middle: 235 Republican votes with 28 Democratic votes yes, with 163 Democratic votes no. Members of the PA delegation voted along party lines with the exception of our blue dog contingent, Rep. Jason Altmire (D-4), Rep. Mark Critz (D-12), and Rep. Tim Holden (D-17).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attacked Republicans in swing districts over the vote.

“In Representative Pat Meehan’s latest act to defend Big Oil, he refused to lower gas prices by ensuring domestically produced oil would be sold here in America,” said Jesse Ferguson of the DCCC. “Gas prices are surging yet Representative Meehan and his buddies in the Grand Oil Party (GOP) are responding by choosing to reward Big Oil…”

The DCCC sent identical releases out about several GOP Congressmen, including Meehan, Marino, Kelly, Gerlach, and Barletta. We picked the Meehan release at random (poor fella).

For more information concerning the H.R. 1229 legislation the full details are available here, Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229). The final recorded vote is available here, Final Vote 309.

2 Responses

  1. So should the Pa Democrats who voted with the GOP now be forced to switch parties? Is the DCCC saying Altmire is beholden to Big Oil too? What about Holden and Critz? Does everythign the DCCC said hold true for these Democrats too? I’m getting tired of both parties putting out blanket press releases on an issue and not getting called out when their own party backed the same legislation, including more than 40 percent of the PA Dem delegation.

    This is part of the dumbing down of politics and the media just goes along with it rather than going back and asking basic questions. Why not ask the DCCC is their comments apply to the the Dems in Pa as well? Its a simple phone call.

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