- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2001

Senate Republicans yesterday threatened to attach President Bush's energy plan onto every piece of legislation after Thanksgiving if Democrats continue to block the vote.
"Anything that moves will have energy on it," said Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says his legislative priorities for this year are government appropriations bills, airline security, a farm bill and economic stimulus.
Mr. Lott said those priorities are skewed in light of the September 11 terrorist attack and the growing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
"Energy is probably as high or higher priority than any of these things. Our energy dependence on foreign oil is dangerous for national security and economic security," Mr. Lott said.
"It shouldn't be at the bottom of the list, and for Senator Daschle to say we're going to do all these other things, and by the way, we'll get to energy next year no," Mr. Lott said.
Republicans are not planning to attach the measure onto priority spending bills, but are prepared to target other Democratic priorities including their version of an economic stimulus package, said Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the Republican conference.
"If they want a farm bill, then they will get a farm and energy bill we will vote on the energy bill often until we get the energy bill. They can put that into their calculation and decide whether they want to spend Christmas in Washington," Mr. Santorum said.
Congress was scheduled to adjourn at the end of September, but the September 11 attacks and pending annual spending measures are expected to keep Congress working past Thanksgiving.
"If they are going to play partisan politics during a time of war, we will have to use every weapon available to us to get important national security interests before Congress," Mr. Santorum said.
Republicans say the tactic is necessary to pressure Mr. Daschle because the issue has divided the South Dakota Democrat's caucus and Republicans have the votes necessary to pass the bill.
At issue in the energy proposal is oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Supporters say the 2,000-square-mile drilling area could yield 10.4 billion barrels of oil. The United States now imports on average 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Iraq at a cost of $12 million, or $4.4 billion a year.
Diplomatic disputes with Venezuela and Canada also threaten to disrupt U.S. oil supplies from key Western Hemisphere suppliers.
U.S. Ambassador Donna Hrinak was recalled last week after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized the war in Afghanistan, comparing the bombing campaign to fighting "terror with more terror."
The United States is also at odds with Canada over softwood lumber policies, which prompted Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on Monday to threaten the withdrawal of oil and natural gas supplies.
The U.S. Commerce Department increased a duty on softwood to 32 percent, charging unfair subsidies in Canada. Mr. Chretien told the House of Commons that Americans "will need a lot of wood to heat their homes," in lieu of oil and natural gas.
Two of the Democratic Party's core constituencies, environmentalists and union workers, have squared off on the issue of oil drilling. Green groups oppose it while union leaders support drilling and the 735,000 jobs it will create.
Drilling critics say the amount of oil recovered is insignificant compared with the environmental degradation it would cause. Supporters say drilling can be done safely and that there is more oil in ANWR reserves than in Texas.
The measure passed the House in August with 32 Democrats crossing the aisle to side with Republicans. The bill was set for committee passage in October, but Mr. Daschle pulled it.


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