WASHINGTON, D.C. ? A Senate roll call vote on the Murkowski amendment to the Energy Reform Bill, S. 517, was defeated by a 54 to 46 margin April 18. The amendment would have allowed drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
The vote is seen as a defeat for the Bush administration energy policy, which emphasizes domestic oil and gas exploration and supply to reduce dependence on foreign oil supplies from enemy states like Iraq. The plan has been criticized, however, for lacking adequate support for conservation and renewable energy technology development and implementation.
Bush is also concerned that the bill was defeated in large part due to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle, D-S.D., Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. and Joseph Lieberman, D ?Conn. One of the three is a likely candidate to oppose Bush in the 2004 Presidential elections and defeating his energy plan would garner a great deal of political capital for the Democratic candidate.