(H.R. 2021, H.R. 1249) Legislation that would ease air pollution regulations for oil and gas drilling, as well as a separate, unrelated patent reform bill – On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to both bills
These votes were on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation that would ease air pollution regulations for oil and gas drilling. The resolution also set a time limit for debate and determined which amendments could be offered to a separate, unrelated, patent reform bill. The first of these three votes was on whether to bring up the resolution (known as a “question of consideration” – literally whether to “consider” or bring up the resolution). The second of these three votes was on a procedural motion known as the “previous question"--which effectively ends debate and brings the pending resolution to an immediate vote. The third vote was on passage of the resolution itself.
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bills: “Everybody in this Chamber ought to vote for this rule [resolution] if they care about our gas prices, about our national security, about our energy security, and about job creation. This bill has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs annually, over $100 billion in payroll over the next 50 years, and 1 million barrels of oil a day. That's nearly enough oil to replace our imports from Saudi Arabia. This bill would reduce our dependence on Middle East oil significantly, and that ought to be our goal. Foreign nations--some of which have serious animosity towards the United States--are in control of the vast majority of oil that we use day in and day out. Is dependency on these foreign countries not one of the biggest threats that our country faces today? It's a scary reality that this bill directly addresses.”
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) criticized the oil drilling pollution bill: “This bill gives offshore oil companies a pass to pollute by exempting the offshore drilling companies from applying the pollution controls to vessels, which account for up to 98 percent of the air pollution from offshore drilling. I suppose, if you're in the Gulf of Mexico and the wind is blowing towards the shore, you would care about this; but in California, the wind almost always blows onto the shore, and the offshore drilling and the additional pollution that would be allowed because of this is a serious problem for California.”
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) criticized the patent bill: “…Patents are one of the most critical components that drive American innovation, drive our economy, drive invention and innovation. Regrettably…the bill that this rule makes in order fails to ensure that the Patent Office has the resources it needs to process patent applications in a timely manner….Inventors, innovators, and job creation should not be on hold due to delays in patent approval. I'm an inventor of several patents, and I can tell you that the quickest one that I received took over 5 years until it was granted. By the time it was granted, I had actually sold the company and was no longer involved in the sector….while there are very legitimate and important policy discussions on the aspect of patent reform, an equally, if not more important issue is adequate funding for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure the speedy approval of applications so that they're relevant and reviewed and granted in a timeframe consistent with the needs of the private sector.”
The House agreed to the question of consideration by a vote of 215-189. Voting “yea” were 211 Republicans and 4 Democrats. 182 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House brought up and debated a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to an oil drilling pollution bill and a patent bill. The House then passed the previous question motion by a vote of 230-184. All 228 Republicans present and 2 Democrats voted “yea.” 184 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to a final vote on the resolution. The House then passed the resolution by a vote of 239-186. Voting “yea” were 226 Republicans and 13 Democrats. 178 Democrats and 8 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation that would ease air pollution regulations for oil and gas drilling. As an additional result, the House also proceeded to formal floor debate on a separate, unrelated patent reform bill.