Thursday, December 22, 2005

''Senate roll calls; and new drama in the House''

According to the Washington Post story, reprinted today on the Seattle Times, "Cantwell blocks bid to drill in refuge: "But proponents were thwarted again Wednesday as Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., rounded up enough allies to derail a bid by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to attach the plan to a bill funding Iraq and Afghanistan military operations." The Seattle Times editorial today says, "Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell earned legitimate crowing rights with an impressive win that prevents oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This fight isn't over. But the junior senator from Washington, joined and aided by Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Kerry, faced a formidable challenger in Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens. He vowed to open the pristine refuge to oil drilling to help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Maneuvering and fighting over ANWR has been going on for decades. This year, with Republican control of the House, Senate and White House, Stevens felt he had a chance to prevail.

He almost did.

But last weekend, Cantwell stayed back in Washington, D.C., while many colleagues returned home. She heard Stevens had a new plan for forcing approval of drilling. Her instincts were correct."

From Kos:

"The ANWR Senate roll call.

Democrats voting FOR drilling

Akaka (HI)
Inouye (HI)
Landrieu (LA)
Nelson (NE)

Republicans voting AGAINST drilling

Chafee (RI)
DeWine (OH)
Frist (TN)

Frist voted against it for procedural reasons. DeWine and Chafee are working to bone up their "moderate" creds in the face of tough reelection battles. Same for Nelson (NE), but on the other side.

Landrieu represents Louisiana, which is a petroleum processing state. Akaka and Inouye have a quid pro quo with Alaska on a number of issues, this being one of them.

Meanwhile, Cheney had to cast the tie-breaking vote in the GOP's efforts to cut medicare, medicaid, and student loans. The roll call:

Democrats voting FOR budget cuts

None. Hot damn. Kind of weird, actually.

Republicans voting AGAINST budget cuts

Chafee (RI)
Collins (ME)
DeWine (OH)
Smith (OR)
Snowe (ME)

Furthermore, Democrats were able to force changes to the legislation, requiring the House to reconsider the legislation. The House is in recess, and while Republicans would love to approve the cuts via unanimous consent, Pelosi won't let them. She's forcing a recorded vote.

Now remember, Republicans are afraid to bring the House back in session because it could force a leadership fight. It's the reason Hastert is keeping the House shut down until late January rather than early in the new year as is the usual custom. So it looks like the cuts are on hold for at least a month.

It also means that some endangered Republicans could be put on the spot. The cuts passed the house by six votes. Six Democrats and 10 Republicans missed the vote. Nine Republicans voted against the cuts. Of the Republicans who didn't vote, at least one is in a dogfight of a reelection -- Hostettler in Indiana's bloody eight.

Blunt (or whoever is whip) will have his work cut out making sure all their people are present for the vote. A tie vote fails. And this one will be tight."

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