Sunday, October 09, 2005

Right-Wing House Twists Arms, Thwarts Democracy To Pass Oil Industy Windfall

From Think Progress:

October 7, 2005

Emotions erupted on the floor of the House of Representatives this afternoon as the right-wing-led Congress held open yet another vote to twist arms and pass a bill that would line the pockets of energy company executives. The House leadership held the five-minute vote open for almost 50 minutes until they could convince three lawmakers — Reps. Wayne Gilcrest (R-MD), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) — to change their minds. The bill passed 212-210. As the vote concluded, opponents of the bill chanted in unity: "Shame, Shame, Shame!"

The vote was held on the “Gasoline for America’s Security Act of 2005,” a provision sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to nominally “expedite the construction of new refining capacity.” But the bill is essentially a giveback to the oil industry — Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) called it a “leave-no-oilman-behind bill.”

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How could legislation be passed to subsidize the oil industry when these companies are aready enjoying uncontrolled windfall profits from rising gasoline prices? The answer is, the vote was rigged, as detailed by Marie26 at Democratic Underground.

"Is this the House of a Banana Republic?" Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., shouted at one point, expressing his frustration about the GOP holdup of the final tally.

"Using Hurricane Katrina as their excuses the Republicans are again pushing their special interest agenda," said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, including "all the special favors to the industry that were too extreme" for Congress last summer when it passed energy legislation.

"The bill weakens state and federal environmental standards ... and gives a break to wealthy oil companies while doing little or nothing to affect oil prices," complained Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., one of 13 Republicans who voted against the measure.

With prices soaring, "oil companies now have all the profits and incentives they need to build new refineries" without government help, he maintained.

West Virginia's two Democratic Representatives voted against this outrage. Republican Shelly Moore Capito, however, supported the measure.

Video links are available here and here.

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