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View Diary: Arctic Refuge Filibuster Vote Tomorrow; Cheney Cuts Short Trip. (74 comments)

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    from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Perhaps worth the effort to contact Coleman:

    Editorial: Holding hostages for Arctic oil:

    Tying ANWR to troop funding is a deal the Senate must refuse.

    Jim Ramstad tends toward moderation in his comments, as well as in his politics, and so it is worth taking note when this Minnesota Republican spotlights "the most outrageous abuse of power I've seen in my 15 years as a member of Congress."

    In a spectacular display of reckless, end-of-session thuggery, Ramstad's GOP colleagues have taken language that would allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and handcuffed it to funding for U.S. troops in Iraq.

    As usual, the chief perpetrator is Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who has made a minor art of inserting ANWR provisions into critical, high-stakes legislation where they don't belong. Earlier this year, Stevens and his allies thought their best shot was to stick ANWR drilling into a budget bill, which the rules protect from filibuster. When that strategy foundered, they moved it to the defense appropriations bill, which passed the House early Monday and will likely come before the Senate today, with pressure to adjourn for the holidays growing by the hour.


    Minnesota's Norm Coleman says he'll vote to remove the drilling language; if that fails, he won't support a filibuster and isn't sure about the overall bill. Expressing well-founded pique, he said, "I'm angry at the way this has been handled, that we're forced to revisit this issue again and again."

    I contacted both my Senators.  Though with Domenici, I mainly argued that it was a bad precedent to muddy the waters by attaching unrelated items to Defense.  Not likely to make a difference, but still something he might consider.

    I don't actually know where Bingaman is on this one.  Hopefully, he won't buck the leadership which plans to fight.

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