GOP: Lift drilling ban or risk shutdown
Democrats eye budget tie
Sean Lengell (Contact)
Monday, August 4, 2008
The showdown on Capitol Hill over expanding offshore drilling could lead to a threatened government shutdown when Congress returns from its five-week summer break in early September.
Some Republicans say they are prepared to vote against a resolution to fund the federal government for the 2009 fiscal year unless Democrats agree to lift an offshore drilling moratorium. If the budget resolution fails, many agencies and departments would be denied money to operate and would be forced to close.
"We don't want the government shutdown to be an issue, but the fact is the Democrats are so overconfident that they're willing to talk about a ban and they're willing to talk about raising taxes on gasoline, so this is just pretty incredible," said Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican who is circulating a letter encouraging colleagues to demand that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, strike the drilling moratorium from the budget resolution.
"But I think that once Americans realize that this [drilling] ban will expire unless we pass something, I think there is going to be just an outcry to not vote for anything that had a ban in it."