The House passed a bill Tuesday that would keep tax incentives for oil and gas drilling in place.
The bill, the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2017, would maintain tax breaks for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore oil and natural gas exploration, the Interior Department said in a statement.
Republicans say they’re trying to ensure the economic impact of drilling isn’t too severe for the country, and that the tax breaks are needed to pay for the job-creation measures.
“I’m not against the idea of drilling in this country,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said during the House vote.
“I’m just concerned that we don’t have enough oil and I think it’s important for the American people to understand that the president supports this.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he supports the tax incentives because he thinks they are “important to help keep America in the forefront of economic development.”
He added, “There are people out there who want to do something.
But if we do nothing, we’re going to go backwards.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for approval.
Republicans have a 50-50 majority in the House, which has been reluctant to approve any major tax legislation.
It was one of only four GOP-controlled chambers where the bill passed.
The legislation also includes $3 billion for a new tax on the use of foreign currencies for goods and services.
The bill also contains $2 billion for funding infrastructure projects.
It also allows oil companies to deduct more from their tax bills, which they have been allowed to deduct for decades.
The House bill is the most comprehensive bill to pass Congress in years.
It would also allow the Trump administration to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, eliminate tax breaks that give oil companies special treatment and require them to disclose their tax information.
The president has been a vocal critic of these tax breaks, arguing they have helped to drive up the price of oil and have encouraged foreign companies to invest in the United States.
The GOP tax bill is expected to be one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation in the current Congress.
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 57 percent of voters disapprove of the bill.