Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) announced on Wednesday that he will support the House GOP’s energy package, which the chamber is set to vote on this week.
Gonzalez — who represents Texas’ 34th congressional district — said that while the GOP legislation is “far from perfect,” it represents a step forward in improving federal environmental review and permitting processes.
“I plan to support H.R. 1, the Lowering Energy Costs Act, when it comes to the floor for a vote later this week,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
“In order to fully realize the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, remain competitive on the world stage, and ensure the American people have access to safer roads and bridges and reliable and affordable energy, we must improve federal environmental review and permitting processes,” he added. “While this package is far from perfect, it is a step forward.”
The Texas Democrat continued, writing “I am hopeful that we can work in a bipartisan and bicameral way to make progress on this issue and deliver for our constituents.”
The House kicked off debate on the Lower Energy Costs Act this week, and the chamber is set to vote on it Thursday. The measure received the distinguished nomenclature of H.R. 1, signaling that it is the top priority of House Republicans this Congress.
The legislation includes provisions that seek to boost production and sales of oil and gas, make it easier for uranium to be added to a list of “critical minerals” that the federal government wants to prioritize, and and it would do away with a number of programs that were approved in the Inflation Reduction Act, which congressional Democrats passed and President Biden signed into law over the summer.
Additionally, the energy package seeks to speed up the U.S. approval process for permits for energy and infrastructure projects, a provision that Gonzalez pointed to when announcing his support for the measure.
Gonzalez is supporting the GOP-led energy bill dispute Democratic leadership advocating against it. The office of House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) urged Democrats to vote against the measure, dubbing it the “Polluters Over People Act.”
“This bill is House Republicans’ giveaway to Big Oil and other polluters at the expense of the American taxpayer,” Clark’s office wrote in a daily preview. “The legislation contains no provisions to help consumers or lower energy costs, and it instead guts environmental and public health laws in order to fast-track polluter projects.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the energy package is “dead-on-arrival” in the upper chamber, writing on Twitter “All it takes is a brief glance at House Republicans’ H.R. 1 to realize it’s just a giveaway to Big Oil pretending to be an “energy package.”
The energy package is not the first time Gonzalez has broken from the Democratic caucus on legislation this Congress. Earlier this month, the congressman joined most Republicans and eight other Democrats to vote in favor of a resolution that seeks to overturn a Biden administration water regulation.