Some facts of life are too stubborn for liberals to ignore.
Even now, in the heady first days of a new administration with a president of their own party, some Democrats are clearly looking ahead to the next midterm elections.
And four members of Congress from Texas, at least, must not like what they see.
As BizPac Review reported Thursday, four Lone Star State Democrats wrote to President Joe Biden on Wednesday to ask that he rescind Executive Order 3395, which he signed on his second day in office and puts a pause on new leases for drilling for oil and gas on federal lands.
It also asks Biden to drop plans like those reported by Fox News on Tuesday to ban new leases for a year as part of his administration’s war on fossil fuels.
Such measures, the lawmakers wrote, would not only put jobs in danger; they would cost the government “billions” in revenue.
“Media reports indicate that the administration plans to announce a new proposal to ban responsible energy leasing, including oil and gas leasing, from our federal waters and lands indefinitely,” the letter said. “A federal ban for any period of time will certainly imperil hundreds of thousands of jobs, entire communities, and billions of dollars in royalty revenues to the Federal Treasury and eliminate funding for important conservation programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).”
Well, maybe Reps. Henry Cuellar, Lizzie Fletcher, Vicente Gonzalez and Marc Veasey were sleeping through the last presidential campaign, when Biden made no secret of his sympathy for the leftist antipathy toward the fossil fuel industry.
Or maybe they’re just now grasping what a Democratic president at war with fossil fuels, and costing countless jobs, will mean to Democratic lawmakers running for re-election in a state that relies heavily on oil and gas production for jobs and revenue.
As Fox reported Wednesday, Republicans are already targeting Democrats in states like Texas who voted in 2019 for a House resolution that tried to push then-President Donald Trump into rejoining the Paris climate agreement he took the country out of in 2017.
In the #Resistance heyday of 2019, that vote might have looked like risk-free virtue signaling for fun and political profit for Democratic representatives. But with a Democratic president in the White House actually carrying out policies that are destructive to their constituents’ livelihoods, it might not look so risk-free anymore.
While Veasey and Cuellar cruised to re-election in November, things were closer for Gonzalez (who was specifically mentioned as a target for Republicans in the Fox report) and Fletcher, who each won by about 3 percentage points. Considering the 2022 campaign isn’t going to have Donald Trump on hand to push Democratic turnout by standing in as the party’s Emmanuel Goldstein, that’s probably closer than either representative wants to risk.
The Texas Tribune noted that the federal government owns only about 1.9 percent of the land in Texas, unlike in other Western states where the percentage owned by the federal government can be much higher, but there’s no denying the message the Biden administration’s actions are sending to the fossil fuel industry.
And all four Democrats, according to the Houston Chronicle, “represent districts with big oil and gas footprints.”
Hence Wednesday’s letter:
“As the United States works to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans and destroyed the livelihoods of many more, now is not the time to jeopardize American jobs, or the critical tax and royalty revenues that federal leases generate for local, state, and federal government that need funds now. Instead, we should invest in our nation’s infrastructure and create the jobs that will help our nation emerge stronger after this pandemic.
“We were pleased to see your Administration rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on Day 1, and we want to work with you on your Build Back Better agenda. We urge you to rescind this order and to reject policies that would ban responsible oil and gas leasing on federal lands and federal waters.”
The letter drew a welcoming response from Rep. Dan Crenshaw, the Texas Republican and former Navy SEAL who’s better known for doing combat with Democrats these days than praising them.
Thank you to these Texas Democrats. There is now bipartisan support for energy jobs, against the radical pseudo-environmentalism of the Biden-Harris administration. https://t.co/VSMrz852XH
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) January 27, 2021
“Thank you to these Texas Democrats,” Crenshaw wrote in a Twitter post. “There is now bipartisan support for energy jobs, against the radical pseudo-environmentalism of the Biden-Harris administration.”
It’s way too early yet to predict what effect the Biden presidency is going to have on his party in the November 2022 midterms, but it’s a fact of political life that the party of the president tends to do poorly.
Then-President Donald Trump’s Republicans lost their House majority in the 2018 midterms. Then-President Barack Obama’s Democrats lost their House majority in the 2010 midterms. Then-President George W. Bush’s Republicans avoided that fate in the 2002 midterms, but it caught up to them in 2006.
Then-President Bill Clinton’s Democrats, of course, set the modern standard for disaster in 1994 when they lost the House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 40 years as well as a Senate majority.
It’s also a fact of life that presidents who cost their countrymen their livelihoods deserve to — and inevitably will — lose voter support.
Four Texas Democrats have evidently gotten that message already.
It’s a good bet more members of the party aren’t going to be far behind.
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