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House measure on gas aimed at lower prices

Critics dub it the "drill everywhere" bill.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., says new energy bill will lower gasoline prices. (UPI Photo/Kamenko Pajic)
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., says new energy bill will lower gasoline prices. (UPI Photo/Kamenko Pajic) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- The House of Representatives passed a measure it says would help lower gasoline prices by expanding access to domestic energy resources.

H.R. 4899, the so-called Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, passed through the House in a 229-185 vote Thursday, largely along party lines.

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The bill's supporters said it would help U.S. consumers and small businesses who are feeling the impact of higher than usual gasoline prices.

"The passage of this bipartisan common sense plan is a bold step forward to unlocking America's energy resources that will create over 1 million new American jobs ... and help ease the pain at the pump for every American," House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said in a statement.

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Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., ranking member of the committee, dubbed H.R. 4899 the "drill everywhere" bill. He said it's the same as similar efforts that do more for oil companies than the American consumer.

"Once again, Republicans wasted time with legislation that will go nowhere in the Senate," he said.

Gasoline prices are higher than usual in part because of turmoil in the Middle East.

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The House measure was introduced last week after Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., unveiled a bill to raise the federal gasoline tax, which has remained static since 1993.

Gasoline is taxed at 18.4 cents per gallon, and diesel is taxed at 24.4 cents per gallon. The Senate proposal would increase both rates by six cents in each of two years for a total of 12 cents on the gallon.

Their measure aims to generate revenue for the federal highway system.

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