WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have mixed feelings about President Donald Trump’s extended ban on oil and gas drilling off the southeast, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. While Republicans are celebrating the move, Democrats are pushing for more to be done in Congress.
“This is an example of President Trump listening to people that he’s close to,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Wednesday.
Graham was close by as President Trump signed a memorandum prohibiting drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina until 2032.
“This is a true honor for me to sign this order,” President Trump said Tuesday.
But critics have pointed out that Graham and the president previously supported increased drilling.
“I’ve always had the view that my state should decide about offshore,” Graham said.
Rep. Greg Steube, who represents parts of the Tampa Bay area, also commended the president’s actions.
“I think he obviously talked to people that it would affect and got a positive response and that was what motivated his decision to do it,” Steube (R-FL) said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Democrats are pressing Senate Republicans and saying if they’re serious about ending offshore drilling, they would pass a permanent ban in Congress.
“They’re trying to pull a fast one on Floridians,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) said.
Castor wants to see the bipartisan “Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act” move through Congress. She worries the president can rescind the executive order.
A South Carolina Democrat is also skeptical.
“Folks aren’t stupid. I think people see it for what it is,” Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) said.
Cunningham says while the president’s order is better than nothing, coastal communities deserve a permanent solution.
“Something that is not gonna be able to change back and forth for political reasons,” Cunningham added.
Cunningham’s bill, which permanently bans offshore drilling from coast to coast, is currently waiting for action in the senate.