WASHINGTON Texas lawmakers urged the Obama administration Tuesday to lift its six-month ban on deep water drilling.

Joined by representatives of two other Gulf Coast states, Louisiana and Mississippi, the legislators said the moratorium would badly hurt the economies in their states.

"It's ironic," said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble. "We are the states that are affected by the damage, yet the people [of our states] want to continue offshore drilling for economic reasons."

Said Rep. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, the sole Democrat at the event: "A moratorium would result in layoffs and job losses numbering the thousands."

Gulf State senators and House members will meet with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today to air their concerns about the economic impact of the moratorium.

Lawmakers argued that the ban would not help stop the leak on the Deepwater Horizon rig or mitigate the environmental damage that has been done.

"It's more of a political knee-jerk reaction," said Rep. Joe Barton , R-Arlington.

Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, introduced legislation Tuesday in the House that would terminate the drilling moratorium, and David Vitter , R-La., filed a similar bill in the Senate.

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