Thursday, December 22, 2005

Senate Bucks Bush on the Patriot Act and ANWR

Dick Cheney was on hand to break a tie vote, as was the case of the deficit reduction package. But even his charm couldn't prevent the U.S. Senate yesterday dealt two setbacks to the Bush administration. First, as reported in the Washington Post, it approved a six month extension of the Patriot Act, a move Bush and majority leader Bill Frist had previously said they would not accept:
President Bush, who had repeatedly said he would not accept a short-term extension of the Patriot Act, embraced the Senate's action last night. "I appreciate the Senate for working to keep the existing Patriot Act in law through next July, despite boasts last week by the Democratic leader that he had blocked the Act," Bush said in a statement. "No one should be allowed to block the Patriot Act to score political points, and I am grateful the Senate rejected that approach."
Frist's chief of staff, Eric Ueland, said a six-month extension is not "short-term."
I'm glad he cleared that up.
Things have changed since Russell Feingold provided the lone dissenting vote in the Senate four years ago. The passage of the six month extension will force the Bush administration to negotiate some of the more objectionable measures in the Patriot Act and will keep the debate over domestic spying going well into next year.
Second, the Senate failed to ovecome objections to the inclusion of a provision to open drilling in ANWR in the defense spending bill. As the Post reports, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was beside himself:
"I'm going to go to every one of your states, and I'm going to tell them what you've done," said Stevens, the leading advocate of drilling in Alaska.
At one point Stevens was reduced to arguing that if drilling opponents would relent, everyone could go home for the holidays, hardly a compelling argument in a battle that has gone on for 25 years.


Blogger jason said...

I happened to catch Stevens on Cspan last night and it was scary. He was going balistic, and I guess it is being reported today that in his closing remarks he seemed to be quiting the Senate. It did not sound that way to me, just a kind of "goodnight" not "goodbye".

3:52 PM, December 22, 2005  

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