As we posted last week, an amendment offered by Rep. Bill Cassidy which would have done away with the Obama administration’s illegal (according to federal courts at the district and circuit levels) moratorium on deepwater drilling was beaten in the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday by a 26-22 vote. (Click here for the tally sheet of the committee vote.)
And as we posted last week the vote on that amendment was decided by “no” votes by five “non-voting delegates” from Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, America Samoa and the Virgin Islands.
The five, all Democrats, are not allowed to vote on the House floor, though in committee their votes are binding. They can also vote on amendments on the House floor thanks to an innovation courtesy of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It’s also no surprise that the five populate the House Natural Resources Committee, as a subcommittee of that group handles the nation’s oceans policy.
The jurisdictions represented by those delegates pay no taxes to the federal government. Thanks to their votes on the moratorium Thursday, many Louisianians will be paying far less in taxes over the next six months and beyond.
Connie Hair at Human Events, in a piece today on the topic, recounts a conversation with Cassidy in which the Congressman notes that the “non-voting delegates” voting against his amendment were only part of the problem – the bulk of the votes against the amendment came from representatives of non-energy producing states who live under the assumption that energy grows on trees.
Cassidy said there’s a great sense of relief that no new oil is currently leaking into the Gulf but there’s a sense of impending doom in Louisiana over the drilling moratorium.
“There’s just a sense here that Obama hates Louisiana,” Cassidy said. “This moratorium is not hurting Tony Hayward or BP. They’re just going to move their rigs to Libya and start drilling there. The people it is hurting are families. Imagine the typical middle class family if you interrupt their income for six months what that would do to their finances. This is a people moratorium.”
“There is an ideological bias in this Congress starting at the top against domestic energy production unless it is the ephemeral promise of windmills and solar panels,” Cassidy said. “If it were not for the representatives of the territories, she would have stacked it with someone else. There are only three Democrats on that committee who represent areas that produce energy: the Chairman [Nick Rahall (W.V.)], Jim Costa (Calif.) and Dan Boren (Okla.). Those are the three that voted for my amendment to end the moratorium.”