June 26, 2008
Lewis demands consideration of Interior Appropriations bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif) today demanded that the Appropriations Committee mark up the fiscal year 2009 Interior Appropriations bill, and offered the delayed legislation as a substitute amendment to the FY 2009 Labor, Health, and Human Services bill.
The consideration of the Interior legislation had been postponed by the committee majority, due to the potential consideration of several controversial domestic energy amendments – including an expansion of outer continental shelf energy exploration and production, an opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to energy exploration and production, and a lifting of the ban on domestic oil shale production. These amendments would allow for more domestic oil production to help drive down record high gas prices, and would have most likely received bi-partisan support.
“I believe that it would be unconscionable for Congress to leave for the 4th of July recess without doing anything substantive to address the difficulties facing all of our constituents due to the skyrocketing rise in gas prices,” Lewis said. “There is overwhelming evidence that the American people support the kinds of energy reforms that should be included in this bill – including making use of our vast domestic energy reserves. It is unacceptable that this Committee and this Congress would choose to selectively ignore their pleas.”
However, instead of considering the Lewis amendment, the Democrat majority abruptly cancelled the mark-up meeting, eliminating the opportunity for the energy amendments to be debated.
“I can think of no better way to prove to the American people that Congress cares about their plight at the pump than meaningful action on these amendments,” Lewis said. “Unfortunately, it appears the majority is content with the status quo and are willing to pack up and leave instead taking tough votes – even if it means forcing our constituents to suffer the consequences.”
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