House Republicans feel the chill on ANWR

The House Rules Committee abandons a plan to ram oil drilling through Congress on the back of a budget bill.

Published November 10, 2005 4:29PM (EST)

One more sign of a political landscape that seems -- at least for the moment -- to be shifting rapidly: The House Rules Committee last night removed from a budget bill that's going to the floor today a provision that would have allowed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Republicans thought they had finally found a way to ram ANWR drilling through Congress by inserting the provision into a budget bill that can't be filibustered. But members of the Rules Committee blinked last night in the face of opposition from a group of moderate Republicans suddenly worried about their prospects for reelection in 2006.

The Rules Committee action was a surprising bit of good news for environmental groups, but the Arctic refuge isn't entirely out of the woods yet. A spokeswoman for Bill Frist tells Bloomberg News that the Senate majority leader intends to keep pushing for the ANWR provision in the Senate version of the budget bill.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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