Are you watching Harry on C-Span 2? (UPDATE at 3:15 pm ET: The Senate is back in session. 3:24 pm ET: John Kerry is speaking about the necessary constraints on the Patriot Act. 4:19 pm ET: Robert Byrd is speaking on the spying revelations, referencing Demosthenes.)

Update [2005-12-19 16:16:51 by susanhu]: Maria Cantwell, my senator in Wash. state, has announced that she vows to block the ANWR legislation, according to KUOW/NPR Seattle radio at 1pm PT. I just received an urgent request from the League for Conservation Voters. They expect an ANWR vote on Wednesday. Please write your senators, and donate if you can. (Also: Please tell Maria you support her vow to block the bill. And here’s the link to all senators.)

Update [2005-12-19 16:52:44 by susanhu]: Below the fold, I’ve added the press release issued by Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office on ANWR. Says Sen. Cantwell, “This is basically giving the oil companies a sweetheart deal around Federal laws and regulations that no other company has ever gotten.”

Of note: “House Approves $39.7 Billion Spending Cut: Authority Also Granted to Open Alaskan Wilderness to Oil Drilling” (voted upon at 5:04 am ET). Re the Senate:

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on the budget bill and as early as Wednesday on defense spending, but both measures are embattled. Senate Republican leaders notified the office of Vice President Cheney that his vote may be needed to break potential ties. […]

The Republican revolution is back,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who rallied House conservatives to push the cuts [of entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and student loans]. … (WaPo)

And give this photo the special caption it deserves:

(The real caption is below the fold.)

Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Cantwell Opposes Inclusion of Arctic Refuge Drilling in Defense Spending Bill

Cantwell: “This is basically giving the oil companies a sweetheart deal around Federal laws and regulations that no other company has ever gotten.”

Monday, December 19, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) went to the floor of the United States Senate Monday to oppose adding drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. Cantwell was joined by a group of senators at a press conference, after her remarks on the floor, to announce they will use available procedural options to strip this drilling effort from the defense bill. (Too bad the dems in the house didn’t do the same.)
Cantwell, a member of the Senate’s Commerce and Energy Committees, serves as the chair of Energy Independence 2020 and has been a leader in the fight to stop plans to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Earlier this year, the Senate Budget Committee included in its version of the Fiscal Year 2006 budget resolution provisions that would have paved the way to arctic drilling. Cantwell offered an amendment to strike that language from the Budget Reconciliation bill, undoing this irresponsible manipulation of the budget process and encouraging an honest and open debate of the issue. Unfortunately, that effort failed on a 49 to 51 vote. Reasonable members of the House last month called a halt to the political games and removed the drilling language from the Budget Reconciliation bill. However, last night, the House voted to pass the Defense Appropriations conference report including the Arctic Refuge drilling proposal. (All they did was move it from one to another)

Thanks to Mona on the Democracy for Washington mailing list for forwarding this press release. Those are Mona’s remarks in italics.


The photo is from the WaPo:

Afghan Parliament Opens for First Time in 3 Decades

CAPTION: Vice President Richard Cheney and his wife, Lynne, attend the opening session of the Afghan Parliament. (AP)

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