WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to prevent temporarily oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida coast. The Bush administration had been pushing for drilling while the president’s brother, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, opposed it. The House voted 247 to 164 to postpone for six months new leasing arrangements between the Interior Department and energy companies.

“The Congress sent a very powerful message to the president today that he needs a more balanced approach toward energy in Florida and throughout the country,” said Representative Jim Davis (D-FL), who co-sponsored the measure with Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL). Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX), the majority whip, said “This amendment makes about as much sense as shutting down all exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and weakens our energy security.”

In another vote, House members voted 242 to 173 to stop oil, gas, or coal development in areas that have been designated as national monuments.

The two votes were on amendments to an Interior Department spending bill, which now moves to the Senate.

Publication date: 07/02/2001