A group of House Republicans has formed an energy coalition called the House Energy Action Team (HEAT) to push through Republican energy priorities - more oil and gas production and protection for big oil companies.
Members include House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), among others.
In the usual Republican vetriolic language, Hastings said about his bill to expand oil drilling:
"With the price of gasoline increasing daily, and the prospect of $5 gasoline looming ahead, it is time for Congress to put an end to the Obama Administration's anti-energy, job-destroying policies that are inflicting further economic pain," he said. "House Republicans are taking action this week to reverse these Obama Administration policies and pass legislation to expand American energy production, create new American jobs and lower energy prices."
Energy analysts agree that more domestic oil drilling would not bring gas prices down.
House Republicans Vote to Protect Big Oil Giveaways
By a vote of 241-171, the House of Representatives today blocked the repeal of one of the many taxpayer-funded subsidies that benefit big oil companies.
House Republicans voted in lockstep, joined by seven Democrats, to protect the Section 199 domestic manufacturing tax credit, a multibillion-dollar giveaway for the five biggest oil companies.
Although taxpayers would save $13 billion by eliminating this wasteful fossil fuel industry giveaway, the GOP voted to continue padding their astronomical profits.
Republicans Vote for Offshore Drilling
Yesterday, the House pass HR 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, with a vote of 266-149.
The bill is part of a suite of three bills called the American Energy Initiative that were introduced by House Republicans and are aimed at reversing the Obama administration's decision to impose a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010.
The other two bills are HR 1229, Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act and HR 1231, Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act.
Special Interest groups that supported this motion include multinational Oil & Gas Producers, Chambers of Commerce, and others. They contributed 6.8 times as much money to House members that voted YES than to House members that voted NO, according to Maplight.org.
Members who voted for the measure, including 233 Republicans and 33 Democrats, received an average of $62,413 in contributions connected to supporting interest groups.
Amongst Republicans, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) received the most contributions from supporting interest groups - $557,397. House Speaker John Boehner received the second highest amount at $435,300.
Those Democrats that voted YES were also major recipients from interest groups in favor of offshore drilling: Rep. Dan Boren received $217,250 and Rep. Mike Ross received $193,900.
MAPLight.org is a nonpartisan organization that reveals money's influence on politics. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics ( OpenSecrets.org). Legislative data from GovTrack.us.
Some Facts on More Oil Drilling
More drilling puts more profits in the pockets in the richest companies in the world - big oil. ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable company, and Chevron comes in at #3.
More oil drilling does not bring down gas prices at the pump.
The oil industry is already drilling more than ever before. Production in the Outer Continental Shelf has increased by more than a third in the past two years, and production in the Gulf of Mexico brought in 1.6 million barrels of oil per day last year-and all-time record.
Yet despite all that drilling, gas prices continue to soar.
Canada drills even more than America, and their gas prices have risen just as sharply as ours.
The reason is clear: with rising demand from China and India and with 70% of the world's proven oil reserves owned by OPEC nations, more drilling in North America has little effect on the global market.
Even if we expanded offshore drilling considerably, we wouldn't see an impact on gas prices until 2030, and even then it would be a matter of just five cents per gallon, according to data from the Energy Information Agency.
If instead we raise fuel economy standard to 60 miles per gallon by 2025, we could cut driver bills at the pump in half.
Building cars that go farther using less gasoline is the best way to protect Americans from price spikes. It will also create jobs, slash our oil imports, and reduce dangerous air pollution.