Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Breaking News: United States Senate Grows Spine

Earlier today, I was dismayed as I listened to a news report about the filibuster intended to delay passage of the much-needed defense spending bill as a protest against the not-needed ANWR drilling provision that was added to the bill. That's all anyone thought would happen at that hour: that the filibuster offered a delay and that drilling in ANWR was inevitable. CNN reports:

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, who led the floor debate in opposition to the drilling provision, called it [adding the ANWR drilling to the defense bill] "legislative blackmail" and said Democrats agreed they "were not going to get jammed" by the tactic.
And she was right. Today Senate Republicans could not scare up enough support to override the filibuster and bring the bill to a vote.
Republican leaders could not break a Democratic filibuster threat over the drilling issue, falling three votes short of the 60 votes need to advance the defense spending bill to a final vote. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, left the bill in limbo as he, [Ted] Stevens and other GOP leaders gauged their next move.

The measure was widely expected to be withdrawn and reworked without the refuge language, although Stevens warned he was ready to stay until New Year's if necessary to fight for the drilling, a cause he has pursued for 25 of his 37 years in the Senate.
Puts me in mind of Inspector Javert...

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