The U.S. Senate passed budget reconciliation legislation, 52-47, after nine-hour vote-a-rama Nov. 3 in which the body considered some 35 amendments to the measure. The final bill included language authorizing oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, after a critical amendment was defeated earlier in the day.
The Senate's approval of S. 1932, the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005, followed three days of debate. Earlier, the Senate defeated a motion to strike the ANWR provision from the budget bill, 51-48, and overwhelmingly approved an amendment, 83-16, that imposes an export ban on oil produced in ANWR.
Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., absent from the Senate chamber Nov. 3, did not participate in the voting.
The Senate legislation, which includes cuts to many entitlement programs, is expected to generate $36 billion over five years.
A similar budget reconciliation package in the U.S. House of Representatives, moving toward the House floor, would save the federal government $53.9 billion over five years by cutting mandatory spending programs and producing new revenue streams. ANWR drilling represents $2.4 billion of $3.7 billion in new revenue included in the bill.
If the House passes its budget legislation, congressmen from both houses will craft compromise legislation in conference. The resulting bill would return to the House and Senate for floor votes.
Editorís note: The full story will be in the Nov. 6 issue of Petroleum News