This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) that would have required the Secretary of the Interior to disclose the executive bonuses for any company that was issued a lease for oil and gas drilling. This amendment was offered to legislation requiring the Secretary of the Interior to auction leases for oil and gas drilling in the most oil-rich regions of the Outer Continental Shelf (specifically, those areas with more than 2.5 billion barrels of oil or 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas).
Keating urged support for his amendment: “As our constituents see soaring gas prices, oil companies have revealed record profits. The top five multinational oil companies earned over $1 trillion in the past decade. These firms are eating up more and more of our constituents' paychecks. And where is it going? Only a small portion of the profits are reinvested back into the company to pave the way for efficiencies and research into alternatives to oil. Rather, oil companies are providing bumps to stockholders and high bonuses to their company executives, a pat on the back for high prices at the pump. My amendment would provide transparency to the U.S. taxpayer. The amendment requires the Secretary to disclose the executive bonuses for any company that is given a drilling lease. The time is now to hold the largest oil companies accountable, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment in order to provide transparency back to the American taxpayer.”
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) opposed the amendment: “The Department of the Interior should spend its time focusing on reviewing permits, conducting environmental safety reviews, protecting our resources and leasing offshore areas that are most prospective for oil and natural gas production. The Department shouldn't have dozens of employees sitting around reading companies' Securities and Exchange Commission filings and assembling a list of which executives got what bonus….The information that this amendment would burden the Interior Department with gathering and publishing is already publicly disclosed. It should be made public, and that's why it already is. This amendment is not about openness and transparency of disclosing information. That's already the law. The real effect of this amendment is duplicative requirements and government waste. Let's get away from the political games and gotcha amendments.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 186-240. Voting “yea” were 175 Democrats and 11 Republicans. 224 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required the Secretary of the Interior to disclose the executive bonuses for any company that was issued a lease for oil and gas drilling.