Senator Ted Stevens inseted the ANWR drilling into Defense Appropriations Bill. <br><br>John Kerry speech to the Senate:<br><br>"Mr. President, the shame of what’s happening with the Defense Appropriations Bill is that this entire debate in unnecessary. It’s a strong, bipartisan bill that could and should have passed months ago. Yet here we are, just hours before the end of session, and our armed forces still don’t have their funding. For all the talk about supporting our troops, they’re not getting that support from Washington.<br><br>Senator McCain got it right when he called this maneuver on arctic drilling “disgusting.”<br><br>Let’s be very clear about what’s going on here. Republicans are putting oil companies ahead of our troops. They could have passed the Defense Appropriations Bill months ago. But first the White House, and now the Republican Leadership, decided other interests come before our troops. Their priorities are incredibly misplaced..."<br><br>"...Senator Stevens and all of us know that drilling in the Arctic Refuge has nothing to do with this critical defense legislation. Senator Stevens knows that just weeks ago, his proposal didn’t have the votes. Senator Stevens knows that his proposal will not pass in a stand-alone vote. Senator Stevens knows where our generals stand on this matter.<br><br>So what happens? The Republican leadership in this Congress breaks Senate rules to support this transparent attempt to attach arctic drilling to a bill that’s almost impossible to vote against. Is that how this Senate is going to work? Is it going to be the policy of this Senate to keep our troops waiting in order to keep special interests happy? What’s next? Medical malpractice? Immigration? Stem cell research? How long will our troops have to wait while Republican Senators attach unrelated, controversial bills that don’t have the votes and remain contentious in this body? What kind of precedent are we setting here?<br><br>Not long ago when Senator Stevens came to this floor to defend what some call his “bridge to nowhere,” he spoke about the importance of respecting the legislative process. I would urge him to go back and read what he said, heed his own words, and reconsider his decision to hold up this bill.<br><br>If he doesn’t, I fear we’re going to be here for quite a while. I intend to spend a lot of time talking about this. And if people want to call it a filibuster, that’s fine. What’s going on here isn’t right. Putting oil companies ahead of our troops isn’t right. And here and now, we have to establish the precedent that bills for our troops will not become vehicles for last minute, special interest pet project that in now way benefit the troops this bill is meant to serve.<br><br>This practice dishonors our troops, it dishonors this Senate – and in this particular instance, would lead to the destruction of one of America’s most treasured wildlife refuges."<br><br><br><br>The Senate passed the bill in a 5 am vote this morning. link<br> <br><br>
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