The Number Two Republican in the House made it clear yesterday that he would be more decisive than the White House in threatening a veto of a Continuing Resolution that includes a ban on offshore drilling. In fact, House GOP Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) went farther, suggesting that the Administration start handing out permits for oil drilling on October 1st (when a CR will likely be needed to fund the government) and see what congressional Democrats will do.
When I quoted White House Press Secretary Dana Perino’s refusal Tuesday to make a veto threat over a CR with an offshore drilling ban, Blunt replied that ‘I certainly could support a veto and a veto of a CR [that still includes the ban on offshore drilling] is worth fighting for.” The House GOP Whip contrasted Perino’s answer with an earlier list of “anomalies” –things the Administration did not want to see in the appropriations process—put out by the White House. One of them, he recalled, was an extension of the ban on offshore drilling.
But Blunt wasn’t finished. In his words, “As of October 1st, I would tell Congress that ‘we’re going to start issuing permits for oil drilling regardless of what comes out of the appropriations process. That will put some weight on the Democrats and the whole country will find out how far the Democrats are willing to go to shut down the government—over insistence that we start more drilling for oil.”