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.