Early Friday morning, the House narrowly passed a $50-billion budget-cutting measure (H.R. 4241) 217–215. The approved version does not contain the original provisions for opening up the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). It does contain language that lets mining companies buy public land again in the Rocky Mountain West and speeds up oil-shale development.
House Republican leadership had postponed voting on the bill last week, as they were unable to garner sufficient support even after the removal of the ANWR provisions.
The ANWR provisions will likely reappear during the conference work between House and Senate. The Senate two weeks agoweek passed its own budget-cutting package, which did contain the ANWR provision. (Earlier post.)
Republican Pete Domenici of New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, has indicated it did not matter if the House dropped the ANWR drilling language because he would work to include the provision in budget bill negotiations during a joint Senate-House conference committee.