DENVER — This morning at the Denver Athletic Club, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) predicted that Republicans in both the House and Senate would stand firm and not vote for any legislation that would continue the Congressional ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
DeMint stood behind a lectern reading “American Energy Freedom” in reference to the imminent expiration of the OCS moratorium on Sept. 30. Congress never passed a law specifically banning OCS drilling; instead it has passed the ban as part of the Interior Department appropriations bill every year since 1981.
However, since Congress has failed to pass all but one of the appropriations bills necessary to keep the federal government running, a continuing resolution will be debated when lawmakers reconvene in two weeks.
DeMint said no Republican wants a government shutdown, but that if it comes to that, 39 Republican senators and 150 Republican House members have signed letters promising not to vote for any bill that reinstates the OCS ban.
Pressed to comment on the “Gang of 10″ compromise legislation, DeMint said it gave away too much in mandates and subsidies considering how little oil it actually saved from the congressional ban. “Those senators had good intentions, but the extremists have too strong a hold on Democratic energy policy.”