What: All Issues : Environment : Wildlife/Forest/Wilderness/Land Conservation : S Con Res 23. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution/Vote to Prevent Oil Drilling in the Pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (2003 senate Roll Call 59)
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S Con Res 23. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution/Vote to Prevent Oil Drilling in the Pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
senate Roll Call 59     Mar 19, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

A major item on the president's agenda was opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling. He had attempted it in 2002, only to be stymied in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But Republicans controlled the Senate in 2003, so the administration and its allies in Congress decided to try again. Most legislation in the Senate requires 60 votes to pass. A major exception is the annual budget resolution and its "reconciliation" bills. The budget resolution sets out overall spending and revenue totals for the coming year; the reconciliation bills come later and bring actual spending and taxation in to line with the totals envisioned in the resolution. Republicans saw an opportunity here to circumvent the Senate's 60- vote rule: if they could include the ANWR drilling in the budget resolution, they could pass it with a simple majority. They did so by including a provision in their 2004 budget resolution that assumed revenue from oil drilling in the Refuge. This would trigger authorization for oil drilling in the reconciliation bills later on. The only problem with Republicans implementing this plan was the absence of support for it in the Senate. Boxer (D-CA) proposed an amendment to strike this ANWR language from the bill, a move supported by Progressives, who wanted to maintain ANWR's protected status. Boxer's amendment received the simple majority it needed to pass, 52-48, and the language was struck from the resolution.

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