Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grayson Amendment Fails ON A TIE. House Proceeds to Give Big Oil a Great Big Hug.

While you were watching the Senate take the steps toward final passage of its immigration bill, the House was voting on some legislation of its own, in particular H R 1613.  This bill would implement a U.S.-Mexico agreement on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico signed in February of last year by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa.  The deal would allow oil and gas drilling on more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Wall Street Journal described the deal in the following manner:
The U.S. and Mexico have reached an agreement that would allow oil and gas drilling on more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, resolving a dispute that has left those areas in limbo for more than a decade.

The agreement signed Monday by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa in Los Cabos, Mexico, establishes a legal framework for U.S. companies to develop offshore energy projects with Petroleos Mexicanos, the Mexican state oil company known as Pemex, in areas that straddle the two nations' maritime border. The acreage runs due east from the U.S.-Mexico border to a point more than 200 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and includes areas where the water is almost 11,000 feet deep.

The agreement also allows U.S. and Mexican safety officials to work together to ensure the projects meet the safety standards of both nations and sets the groundwork for more cooperation to develop uniform safety guidelines for offshore energy development.
There were two grounds for opposition to H R 1613 among House Democrats. Environmentalists would obviously (and rightfully) oppose the expansion of offshore drilling. However, some Democrats who supported the agreement in theory opposed the House bill because it would also waive a provision of Dodd-Frank that requires companies to disclose donations made to foreign governments. Damaging the environment while gutting Dodd-Frank at the same time: a Republican dream come true! 
Before I go into the details of the final vote on HR 1613, I want to highlight the fate of the amendment put forth by Alan Grayson that would have ensured that states had the right to prevent offshore drilling in their own coastal waters.

Graysons’s amendment was rejected ON A TIE (213 to 213), a rare occurrence in the House. If the vote is tied in the House, the bill dies.  In the Senate, by contrast, the vice president casts the deciding vote.

191 Democrats and 21 Republicans voted for it. 208 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted against it.
The following Republicans voted FOR the Grayson amendment. They are almost all from either New Jersey or Florida. They should be commended for that vote.

Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
Vern Buchanan (FL-16)
Kevin Cramer (ND)
RonDeSantis (FL-06)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Leonard Lance (NJ-07)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
John Mica (FL-07)
Jeff Miller (FL-01)
Rich Nugent (FL-11)
Bill Posey (FL-08)
Trey Radel (FL-19)
Thomas Rooney (FL-17)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)
Dennis Ross (FL-15)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)
Daniel Webster (FL)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

The following Democrats voted against the Grayson amendment. None of them should be a surprise.

John Barrow (GA-12)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Jim Matheson (UT-02)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)

H R 1613 passed easily 256 to 171.  228 Republicans and 28 Democrats supported the bill, and 170 Democrats and 1 Republican opposed the bill.

The lone Republican opponent was Walter Jones (NC-03).

Which 28 Democrats love weakening Dodd-Frank and helping Big Oil at the same time?  These representatives, for the most part, have some of the worst voting records in the Democratic Party this Congress, and many are freshmen. They shall be duly named and shamed.

Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Daniel Lipinski (IL-03)
Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
Jim Matheson (UT-02)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Gary Peters (MI-14)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Trey Radel (FL-19)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Krysten Sinema (AZ-09)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

These bills were considered in the context of the broader H R 2231 (Offshore Energy and Jobs Act), which would require Obama to establish a new, five-year plan for leasing offshore drilling for oil and gas.  The House also voted on several amendments to H R 2331.  One of the most noteworthy, in my opinion, was the Alcee Hastings's amendment, which would have stricken the language in H R 2331 eliminating the necessity for environmental impact assessments.  Her amendment failed on a nearly party line vote of 188 to 233.

185 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted for the amendment. 224 Republicans and 9 Democrats voted against it.

The 3 Republicans were Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Walter Jones (NC-03), and Dave Reichert (WA-08).  They should be duly commended.

Which 9 Democrats love Big Oil and Big Gas so much that they won't let an environmental assessment get in their way?

John Barrow (GA-12)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Jim Matheson (UT-02)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

And they should be duly shamed.

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