(from The Christian Science Monitor)
In a dramatic [ed. note: I call it patently disgusting] endgame strategy, Senate Republicans are using the calendar and a must-pass Defense spending bill to move some of the most controversial issues of the 109th Congress.
Senate Democrats say including the ANWR provision in the Defense bill violates Senate rules and is an abuse of power. They threaten to use all procedural means in Senate rules to block it.
While conceding that a ruling of the chair could determine that ANWR is unrelated to the underlying Defense appropriations bill - a violation of Senate Rule 28 - Senator Stevens says, "We're living by the rules. And one of the procedures in the Senate is to appeal the ruling of the chair."
The ANWR dispute is expected to come to a vote on the Senate floor Wednesday.
"Senate rules are sometimes honored in the breach," says Senate historian Don Richey. "Conferences are by nature a very fluid operation designed to reconcile often strikingly different versions of bills that come out of the House and the Senate."
The magic number for drilling opponents' filibuster is 59 votes or less. Currently, Senator Feinstein said she believed drilling supporters have 58 votes. This is going to be damn close.