The U.S. House of Representatives passed the second of its three-part package of bills aimed at encouraging offshore drilling on Wednesday.
More than two dozen Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the measure, but the Florida delegation voted strictly along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition.
Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton made some noise about a provision that would steer drilling-related court cases – even those affecting Florida – to the Fifth Judicial Circuit, which has a reputation for being oil-friendly. Deutch offered an amendment to strike that provision, which failed.
The third piece of the pro-drilling package, which sets production targets for domestic oil and gas production, could pass as early as today. The bills face long odds in the Senate, where oil executives are getting grilled on industry tax breaks.