Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Mixed News in the Senate

Will Ted Stevens ever give up? It's time that he and the oil development folks faced the fact that the American people do not think it is a reasonable trade to permanently damage a wilderness for a fraction of a year's supply of oil.

Thanks to most of the Senate Democrats and a couple of (three?) Republicans for holding firm and rejecting HR 2863 which would have appended a defense appropriations bill with a measure to open up ANWR (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) to oil drilling. Special thanks to my own Senator Cantwell in taking a lead in standing up to Ted Stevens and his assault on the environment. The third Republican who earned the question mark was none other than majority leader Frist, who is continuing his practice of voting against cloture when he sees it has failed already. He did so earlier in the week on the Patriot Act vote, and first startled me with the practice on the Bolton nomination vote back in May. As I understand it, as Majority Leader, Frist is able to vote last, and if he sees a measure that he favors is going to fail, he votes against it because only a Senator on the winning side of the vote can initiate the process to revisit the vote later.

Earlier this morning brought bad news, as a budget bill which radically scales back social programs while bringing new tax cuts for the wealthy needed a tie breaking vote from our pro-torture* Vice President in order to pass. The only bright side of this news was that the Democrats were unified in their opposition - even Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu. Still a passed immoral budget is law. This hammers home the point that picking up a seat or three in the upper chamber will help matters without gaining majority.

Breaking News: It looks like the Senate has sent the military appropriations bill back to the House for reconsideration without the ANWR drilling rider. At least that's what I'm guessing Senate Concurrent Resolution 74 (A concurrent resolution correcting the enrollment of H.R. 2863) which just passed does.

*Hey, I don't usually throw out these off-subject gratuitous insults, but my patience with the audacity of these unindicted crooks has worn very thin indeed.


lauren said...

Thanks for a good summary of what happened in Congress yesterday. I found myself calling the folks in Congress evil earlier this week when the immoral budget bill was being debated and the ANWR drilling provision was conveniently tacked on to a defense spending bill that also contained Katrina relief and bird flu provisions. I don't often throw the "e" word around. But even when you try to stay positive, it's hard not to get incredibly frustrated with these crooked manuevers. *Sigh* I'm trying to enjoy the ANWR victory...for now.

-epm said...

A mixed bag, perhaps, but a better mix than we've seen in a while..