Watching Government: Budget confab key to ANWAR

As the 109th Congress comes back from its Thanksgiving break, it confronts a bigger than usual serving of leftovers, a handful of which involves oil and gas.Chief among these is authorization to issue federal oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Since the measure was tucked inside budget legislation, it eluded a Senate filibuster, only to fall victim to a rare display of strength by 26 moderate House Republicans.The group, led by Rep. Charles F. Bass (R-NH), pledged on Nov. 10 to vote against the fiscal 2006 budget unless House leaders pulled ANWR leasing authorization and other provisions.The maneuver worked, and the House passed its budget bill on Nov. 18, minus th...

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