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WASHINGTON - Putting pressure on congressional Democrats to back more exploration for oil, President Bush on Monday lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling that has stood since his father was president. But the move, by itself, will do nothing unless Congress acts as well.
There are two prohibitions on offshore drilling, one imposed by Congress and another by executive order signed by the first President Bush in 1990. The current president, trying to ease market tensions a
Bush criticized Congress for failing to lift its own ban on offshore drilling.
"For years, my administration has been calling on Congress to expand domestic oil production," Bush said. "Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal. And now Americans are paying at the pump."
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, called Bush's move "a very important signal" and said his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, should drop his opposition to offshore drilling.