Democrats’ House-Passed Energy Bill Likely to Die in Senate

By Susan Jones | September 17, 2008 | 9:10 AM EDT

( – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Democrats’ energy bill, which easily passed Monday night, is a “bold step forward that will help end our dependence on foreign oil and strengthen our national security.”
Republicans say the bill is a hoax. It makes it look like Democrats are voting on real energy reform without actually doing it, House Republican Leader John Boehner said.
The American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act, which passed the House by a 263-189 vote, would allow drilling, but only 50 miles beyond the shoreline and only if a state agrees to offshore development. But Republicans say nearly 90 percent of offshore oil lies within 50 miles of land.
The bill also calls for $18 billion in taxes on the largest oil companies. The money would fund tax breaks for alternative energy such as solar, wind and biomass.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to die.
In a statement on Tuesday, Pelosi was full of praise for her Democratic colleagues.
"The impact of this legislation will be significant in ensuring American energy independence and strengthening our national security,” she said.
According to Pelosi, the offshore drilling provisions would make 85 percent of the total available oil on the Outer Continental Shelf open for leasing.
“It would expand our available oil by at least 2 billion barrels – enough to power 1 million cars for 60 years, she said. “It also makes available enough clean natural gas to heat 6 million homes for more than four decades.”
"Democrats stand for change. Republicans are demanding the status quo,” Pelosi insisted.
Republicans fumed that they were denied the opportunity to offer their own energy plan as a substitute for the Democrats’ legislation.
Republicans have been pushing their “all-of-the-above” energy plan non-stop for three months, Republican leader Boehner said. As for the Democrats’ bill, “It’s rigged,” Boehner said. “And the bill that’s coming to the floor is nothing more than hoax on the American people and they will not buy it.”
Rep. Adam Putnam, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said the Democrats “no-energy bill doesn’t even come close to delivering the ‘all of the above’ energy solution the American people are demanding.”
He said those who voted for the bill put “political expedience ahead of the needs of hard-working American families.”
“By failing to provide states with the opportunity to share in the revenues generated by offshore drilling, the bill gives governors and state legislatures no incentive whatsoever to opt-in,” Putnam said, noting that one Senate Democrat had declared the bill dead on arrival.

“The Democrat no-energy energy bill doesn’t even come close to delivering the ‘all of the above’ energy solution the American people are demanding,” Putnam said.
“Not only does this legislation permanently lock up much of our vast deep ocean resources, it does absolutely nothing to promote clean-coal technologies and emission-free nuclear.” Even worse, he said, the bill raises taxes and includes mandates that will raise prices for consumers.
“House Republicans will not be deterred in our efforts to advance meaningful energy legislation that gives the American people more access to all forms of our vast resources and bridges the gap in moving toward alternative and renewable energy forms without raising taxes. We will continue to demand an up-or-down vote on the American Energy Act, the only bill that delivers an ‘all of the above’ solution,” Putnam said.