House Democrats responded to President's Bush's call for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. This was at an on-camera press conference fed back live.
Among other things, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.
They also reasserted that the reason the Appropriations Committee markup (where the vote on the amendment to lift the ban) was cancelled so they could focus on preparing the supplemental Iraq spending bill for tomorrow.
At an off-camera briefing, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the same. And a senior Republican House Appropriations Committee aide adds that "there were multiple reasons for the postponement" including discussion on the supplemental. But the aide said there was the thought that Democrats may wish to avoid a debate today on energy amendments.
Here are the highlights from briefing :
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling
We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market.
Hinchey on why they postponed the Appropriations markup
I think there aren't enough votes for the Peterson amendment. It wasn't taken up (the Interior spending bill) because of the omnibus Appropriations bill. That's the main focus of the Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
They (Republicans) have a one-trick pony approach.
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the Resources Committee
You cannot drill your way out of this. (oh really? - Tiger)
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming
The White House has become a ventriloquist for the oil and gas energy. The finger should be directed back at them. They had plenty of opportunity to (arrange an energy policy). But they did not put an energy policy in place.
The governors of California and the governors of Florida are going to scream this is not the way to go.
There are a lot of arrows in the President's quiver that he decided not use.
What we do has to be in the interest of the American people. Not major corporations.
It's like when I talk to my kids. Before we're going to talk about dessert, we've got to talk about what's on your plate. I hope I'm a little more successful with the oil industry than I am with my kids.
There are so many red herrings out there they might as well construct an aquarium.
From House Majoirity Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) when I asked him if the markup was cancelled because of potential Democratic defections on the Peterson amendment ...
"No. The reason the markups aren't going through is because we're trying to get the supplemental on the floor tomorrow."
And from a Senior Republican House Appropriations Aide ...
"There were multiple reasons for the postponement including ongoing negotiations on the (supplemental) and a (Democratic) wish to avoid debate and votes on the energy amendments.