CQ: House GOP Likely to Drop ANWR from Budget
House Republicans, still desperately struggling to find the votes to pass the amended budget, seems poised to remove the portion of the bill that would allow companies to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. CQ Today‘s Midday Update (a free email service) has the story.
House GOP leaders appear likely to drop a provision opening Alaskaâ€™s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and make other changes to win votes from reluctant moderates for the budget-savings bill set for floor action tomorrow.
Charles Bass, R-N.H., maintained that the drilling provision must come out of the bill (HR 4241) or it will fail. Although some leaders have floated raising fuel efficiency standards for motor vehicles instead of dropping the ANWR provision, Bass said that would not fly.
Michael N. Castle, R-Del., a leading moderate, said deletion of ANWR is only the â€œstarting pointâ€? for negotiations with leadership. Moderates also want smaller spending cuts to social programs. â€œThey are the usual suspects â€” food stamps, foster care, child support, all the things youâ€™ve been writing about,â€? Castle said.
Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., left the door open to changes when the Rules Committee meets this evening. â€œWeâ€™ll just have to see how things develop later today, and what is the most helpful thing for this bill,â€? Blunt said.
In the wake of yesterday’s wide-ranging defeat for Republican candidates, the moderates within the House GOP caucus not only have the gumption, but now also the clout, to push around their leadership — even if only on an issue or two. And given that tomorrow’s scheduled vote on the budget is the first major vote for Republicans without Tom DeLay (with the exception of a closer than expected vote on energy legislation), it looks like Blunt simply does not have the muscle to push around the moderates anymore… and that’s probably a good thing.
also recently on my blog at Basie.org: