GOP to Protest Energy Bill

Posted September 16, 2008 at 12:16pm

House GOP leaders blasted Democrats for unveiling their energy package “in the dead of night” on Monday and pledged to protest it during the seven hours allotted for floor debate Tuesday.

After a GOP Conference meeting, party leaders came out swinging against the bill, which was unveiled late Monday night in the Rules Committee. They say that the proposal will not spur energy production because it lacks state revenue-sharing provisions and that it is intended to provide cover to vulnerable Democrats on a drilling vote.

“This bill knows how not to encourage [drilling],” Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said. “It’s just there … for nothing but political reasons.”

Kicking off what is likely to be a noisy day on the floor, Republicans began by delivering rowdy speeches and stalling business by seeking votes on procedural motions.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said GOP Members are “going to continue to fight all day. It’s going to be a whale of a fight. Stay tuned.”

Democratic leaders maintain that Republicans finally have their chance to “take yes for an answer” by voting for an energy package that allows for offshore drilling.

“Hopefully, they won’t simply opt for political slogans but energy solutions,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said.

But a senior GOP aide said Republicans don’t feel “any political heat” to support the bill because of its drilling provisions.

While GOP leaders said their members might support individual provisions in the bill, Republicans are unlikely to support the collective measure, another GOP leadership aide said.

Republicans will have one chance Tuesday to seek a vote on an alternative energy plan during a procedural vote known as a motion to recommit.

GOP leaders are keeping mum on what they plan to use as the focus of that motion, which they have used in the past to try to force politically tough votes on Democrats.