HOUSE GOP LEADERS NIX DRILLING IN ALASKA
The GOP majority in Congress continues to behave badly and disappoint. As the Washington Post (registration required) reports, GOP House leaders removed provisions for arctic and off-shore continental shelf oil exploration in order to secure passage of a budget-reduction bill in the face of strong objections from 22 "moderate" Republican congressmen who had become confused, thinking they were Democrats and that this country isn't overly oil-dependent. In the process, President Bush was undermined by his own party.
House GOP leaders agreed last night to strip plans to permit oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the offshore continental shelf from a $54 billion budget-cutting measure, probably securing the votes to pass the bill today. The move is a blow to President Bush, who has made expanded oil exploration a priority since he took office. Lawmakers said the White House applied pressure yesterday to Republicans to save the drilling provisions, especially in Alaska, even wooing conservative Democrats who have steadfastly opposed the GOP budget package.
But the Democrats did not budge, and at least 22 Republicans told the House leadership they would not vote for the sweeping bill unless the drilling provision was removed and they were given assurances that it would not return after House and Senate negotiators hash out a final measure.
Assuming the budget measure passes, its future is still not assured. The moderates' firm stance, especially on Arctic drilling, has put GOP leaders in a bind. A few conservatives may vote against the bill without the drilling provisions.
Bulldogpundit mirrors the feelings of many disgruntled Republicans in observing: "Sometimes you wonder if the GOP deserves to be in charge of Congress."
Think about it. What good is a GOP majority if they can't pass tax cuts, can't slightly reduce the rate of growth in spending, and panic because enviro-kooks object to drilling in a barren, snow-covered wasteland.
Michelle Malkin terms "GOP leaders" a misnomer and terms the whole sorry state of affairs a capitulation.
Next time you fill your gas tank or when you get your first house heating bill this winter think about how Democrats and Republican "moderates" behaved in refusing to deal with this country's energy requirements.
FOLLOW-UP: Michelle Malkin is tracking the fury over the GOP's tuck-n-run on ANWR.
FOLLOW-UP II: The Blue State Conservatives lists the RINO culprits!