See Senate blocks Alaska refuge drilling, A.P. story at the Seattle P.I.. Snippets:
The vote was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who for years has waged an intense fight to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He had thought this time he would finally get his wish. […]
During the vote, a grim-faced Stevens, 82, who had fought to open the refuge to drilling since 1980 and is the most senior Republican in the Senate, sat midway back in the chamber, watching his colleagues. When it became apparent that he had lost, he briefly talked with Frist, presumably over what move should be taken next. He briefly shook his head, a signal of his disappointment.
[WARNING] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was among those who for procedural reasons cast a “no” vote, so that he could bring the drilling issue up for another vote. …
It’s the big showdown in the U.S. Senate today with filibuster and the nuke option in the works. Senate proceedings are live on C-Span2.
UPDATE, 9:40am PT: Cloture failed; ANWR drilling apparently has failed? (Curiously, Frist voted no, as did two other GOP senators. Four Dems — Landrieau, Akaka, Inoye, and Nelson — voted yes.) UPDATE, 7:45am PT: The motion to debate cloture has passed, and cloture is being debated. VP Cheney cast the deciding vote on the cloture debate motion and, reports Raw Story, on the cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and student loans.
Update [2005-12-21 13:6:19 by susanhu]: Maria Cantwell will be interviewed on C-Span2 shortly.
Ted “Crank” Stevens is forever “the senator who stole Christmas” for stalling passage of the defense appropriations bill in his conniving moves to tack ANWR drilling (and a “sweetheart deal” for oil companies), along with Katrina funds, to the defense bill. (Last weekend, Stevens engineered the House move to force anti-ANWR Reps., pressured to pass the defense bill, to vote for drilling.)
Military leaders, Gen’l Zinni among them, warn that “any effort to attach controversial legislative language authorizing drilling … will jeopardize Congress’ ability to provide our troops and their families the resources they need …”
An infantile despot paralyzes the Senate and defense bill to rake in pork for Alaska. (See “Hurricane aid bill snagged by filibuster in divided Senate” from NOLA’s Times Picayune.) Says the Sierra Club‘s Carl Pope for Common Dreams:
“… Stevens berated his fellow Senators and threatened to resign if money was taken from his ‘bridges to nowhere’ to help rebuild Gulf Coast infrastructure. He is now manipulating the same hurricane-ravaged region to pass his pet project of Arctic drilling.
GOP Threatens Nuclear Option: Sen. Maria Cantwell threatens a filibuster, and the GOP is plotting a nuke option. A a DKos diarist says, “You thought the Nuclear Option was about judicial nominations [something to think about after] the New Year? Wrong! The Republicans are setting things up to give it a go today. …”.
Others are irate.
John Kerry accused Stevens of putting big oil ahead of the welfare of U.S. troops and orchestrating the most egregious flouting of Senate rules he had seen …
[John McCain] attacked his colleagues for the “obscene and disgusting” list of porkbarrelling … with most of his venom directed at Stevens and the Alaska spending …
Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said Stevens is breaking Senate rules “big time.”
The numbers are against us. Can we SEE that we have to buck up in 2006 and 2008, put aside differences, and vote for Democrats? Yesterday, quite unbelievably, some on a Democracy for America list stubbornly refused to sign a petition supporting Cantwell/ANWR because she voted for war authorization. What in the hell kind of twisted thinking is that?
[Ornstein] said it is against the rules to add something to a bill that had never been considered by either chamber the first time it was debated and said there is a ban on adding legislation to a spending bill.
“Money and substance are supposed to be kept separate, …”
But even if Democrats win a ruling… a majority of the 100 members must agree with the ruling in a vote to have the measure stripped.
The Hill reports that “Senate Republicans prepared a targeted version of the so-called ‘nuclear option‘ [Monday] …” Here’s where Dick Cheney’s hurried return to D.C. comes to play. Dick is the tie-breaker:
The tactic promises to make the consensus-based Senate temporarily resemble the majority-dominated House.
The ANWR provision leaves the measure open to a point of order because it runs afoul of Senate Rule 28, which requires that conference reports contain only provisions that were included in either the House- or Senate-passed versions of the bill. (More below.)
ALSO BELOW: The Alaskans’ bait-and-switch trickery that will deny the touted hanky-danglers that Sen. Stevens, in his most sincere, flirtatious manner, touted today are in the ANWR drilling provision, “royalties to pay for Katrina relief and for LIHEAP (Low Income Heating Emergency Assistance Program)”
The Hill also reports:
The full story at The Hill.
A diarist at Daily Kos (Land of Enchantment) further points out in “Countdown to Senate ‘Nuclear Option’ — Today!”: