Drilling Out of Budget, Into Defense Spending Bill

After almost a month of butting heads over whether or not the scheme to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be included in the final budget bill, Congress was left at a standstill just a week before the holiday recess.

Forced to find another route to push the drilling provision through, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) pulled a last-minute switcheroo, plucking Arctic drilling out of the budget and tacking it onto the Defense Spending Bill, legislation that includes funds for helping hurricane victims as well as money for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The move has riled up his fellow senators because Stevens broke the rules of the Senate. No new additions are allowed to a bill once both House and Senate versions reach the conference committee. Stevens, as chair of the Appropriations committee in charge of the spending bill, ignored this rule and inserted the drilling language despite much protest.

This bill came out of committee and passed the House early Monday morning. In the Senate, it’s facing a much more uphill battle. On Wednesday, a vote is scheduled to challenge Stevens’ changing of the rules. If this doesn’t succeed in taking the drilling provision out of the defense bill, a very-likely filibuster is the next course of action.

Urge your senators to take Arctic drilling out of the Defense Spending Bill. Our Arctic champions need to know you support a filibuster and don’t approve of Stevens’ tactics, playing politics with our troops and hurricane victims.