Today Maria Cantwell introduced an amendment that would have removed the ANWR drilling section of the Budget Reduction Act. The amendment failed, 48-51
This was our last, best chance to stop drilling in one of the last pristine places on earth. ANWR is already indirectly under assault from the oil industry, due to global warming. And it will get much worse when the drilling starts.
But lost in all of this are the actions of four Democratic Senators who could have made history today.
Akaka and Inouye of Hawaii, and Landrieu of Louisiana voted against the amendment. Corzine of New Jersey was not present for the vote. Seven moderate Republicans supported the measure, and if two of those "Nay" votes had been "Yea" votes, and if Corzine had showed up to vote, the Democratic Senate minority, and the American People, would have had another huge victory today to go along with their closed-session victory earlier this week.
Landrieu's vote is especially interesting, considering Ted Stevens, the senior senator from Alaska, and his recent antics on the senate floor, complaining about the bill that would have taken the "bridge to nowhere" Alaskan money and applied it to New Orleans instead.
Corzine could be forgiven for being on the campaign trail, if it weren't such a crucial vote.
As for the Hawaiians, they must have some sort of deal under the table with Alaska, though not sure why.
Harry Reid voted for the amendment, but in my opinion it was a rather empty gesture, considering he had failed to hold together his coalition.
Thank you to the 14 Senators who cosponsored Cantwell's amendment, including Maine's two Republicans:
Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI]
Sen Dayton, Mark [MN]
Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT]
Sen Kerry, John F. [MA]
Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME]
Sen Mikulski, Barbara A. [MD]
Sen Jeffords, James M. [VT]
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL]
Sen Salazar, Ken [CO]
Sen Murray, Patty [WA]
Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY]
Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA]
Sen Snowe, Olympia J. [ME]
Sen Wyden, Ron [OR]
And kudos to the other Republicans who voted for the Amendment: McCain, Chafee, Coleman, DeWine, and Smith.