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!”
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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.”
The antics of right-wingers on the House floor today mirrored their previous strong-arm tactics in passing CAFTA and prescription drug legislation — “ bills that, like today’s, favored large corporations. In July 2005, the House passed CAFTA with a slim two-vote margin after holding the vote open for an hour and 45 minutes. In November 2003, in the dead of night, the House leadership passed the Medicare prescription drug vote by five votes after holding the vote open for three hours.
The Center for American Progress released a report today detailing the profiteering of oil executives while American families struggle with higher gas prices.