Stevens and the defense bill
Update [2005-12-19 14:47:12 by David Roberts]: Oops, I forgot the obvious: To try to stop this thing, please write your Senators.
As forecast last week, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) managed to get Arctic Refuge drilling attached to the defense spending bill. He couldn’t wrangle it into the budget reconciliation bill, so this is his last-ditch effort. He has said:
Katrina will be on this [defense] bill. That’s what makes the defense bill a little bit attractive because Katrina will be there. It is going to be awful hard to vote against Katrina.
The levees will be paid for when we drill in ANWR.
The House passed the bill in a “bleary, pre-dawn vote” this morning (they must be so proud of themselves).
Now everything comes down to the vote in the Senate. Democrats have promised to filibuster the bill.
"I don’t have any hesitation to be a part of a filibuster," said Democrat Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. "This is a fight worth waging."
This is really end-game time, folks.
Below the fold, I’ve put some quotes from people reacting to Stevens’ bid, culled from various sources (Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, news reports, etc.).
"It’s wrong for members of Congress to use our troops as political cover for new spending." — Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
"It is utterly despicable to be put in a position of choosing between funding our troops and opposing bad public policy. … If we have learned anything from the Bridge to Nowhere debacle, it’s that the American people expect Congress to take a hard look at legislation before it and to reject proposals added at the last possible minute and which have absolutely no relation to the true purpose of this legislation." — Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.)
"Disgusting" and "disgraceful." — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
"Threatening to hold the Defense spending bill hostage in order to force controversial Arctic National Wildlife drilling legislation through Congress is an indefensible abuse of power." — William H. Meadows, President of The Wilderness Society
"It’s an outrageous move that is a betrayal of the public’s trust, an abuse of power, and a great to disservice to our troops, not to mention it would spoil forever a national treasure. Congress should stand strong against Senator Stevens and reject this exploitation of our troops and our natural heritage." — Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
"These tactics reflect poorly on this body and this leadership. Funding for our brave men and women in uniform should not be jeopardized by opening ANWR to drilling." — Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.)
"Like Ahab, certain Republicans are so dedicated to a lost cause that they have lost their reason in the process. Let us hope that those who captain the Senate will turn this ship around before it founders on a filibuster." — Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
"The defense bill should be about delivering equipment and support to our troops. Instead, it is being used to deliver a multibillion bonanza to oil companies." — Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.)
"It would be an egregious abuse of power on behalf of the oil and gas industry to violate the Senate’s rules and attach a special interest provision to this bill." — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
"These people would snake a pipeline across one of the great landscapes of the world, the Arctic National Wildlife Range. Some have appropriately compared splitting the Arctic National Wildlife Range by a 48-inch pipeline and haul road with slicing a razor blade across the face of the Mona Lisa." — Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), 1977