The Senate voted 49-51 on Senator Maria Cantwell's (D-Wash.) amendment to remove Arctic Refuge drilling from the budget resolution. With the Senate closely divided on such a high-profile issue, including it in the larger budget resolution could seriously damage the prospects of that bill as it passes through the Senate, the House-Senate conference, and final passage in both chambers. Even then, this provision of the budget resolution will not go into effect unless it makes it into the final Budget Reconciliation bill later in the year, which must itself go through the same arduous process as the budget resolution itself. Congress hasn't managed to complete the budget process in the last two years; if that happens again, drilling backers will be back to square one.
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