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Democrats Block GOP Bill That Would Restart Keystone XL, Federal Oil Lease Program

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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Democrats voted down a motion to consider GOP legislation that would reverse several Biden administration energy policies, according to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office.

During the vote Wednesday evening, 219 Democrats voted against consideration of the American Energy Independence from Russia Act offered by Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, McCarthy’s office said. The legislation was introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman on Feb. 28.

“This week our president – our American president – asked Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to increase oil production,” Crenshaw said during remarks on the House floor. “Asked them to boost their output so that American consumers wouldn’t see a spike in gas prices.”

“Surely (President Joe Biden) knows we can also boost domestic production right here at home. Surely he knows that domestic production supports American jobs,” Crenshaw continued. “And surely he knows that domestic production is cleaner, by far, than foreign production.” (RELATED: ‘What Additional Permits Do They Need?’: Psaki Mocks Question About Oil Drilling Regulatory Hurdles)

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The legislation would immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline, remove restrictions on natural gas exports, restart the oil and gas leasing program, protect “energy and mineral development” and require the White House to issue plans for energy security and replacing oil tapped from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The bill was introduced in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has disrupted global energy markets and exposed Western reliance on Russia for oil and gas. Republicans and fossil fuel industry groups have urged Biden to reverse course on his energy agenda and incentivize greater domestic production.

“Putin and Russia’s economy are dependent upon dominating energy production and exporting to other nations,” Rodgers and Westerman said in a joint statement after introducing the bill. “He gains power by doing so, and it’s what funds his military and aggressive behavior.”

“To counter Putin, our bill flips the switch to promote American energy jobs, production, and exports,” they said.

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