Inside Report: Filibustering ANWR

Posted: Aug 18, 2001 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Teamsters Union will tell Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle that organized labor deserves an up-or-down vote on proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska without facing a Democratic-sponsored filibuster. Teamsters operatives are passing the word that they will not tolerate the filibuster against authorizing ANWR oil exploration promised by Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and John Kerry of Massachusetts, both early prospects for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. Lieberman, in particular, has been a longtime favorite of the Teamsters. The union's vote-counters see between 46 and 51 senators in support of drilling -- close in an up-and-down vote but far short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster. A footnote: A powerful Democrat in support of ANWR exploration is veteran Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who has sided with Alaska's indigenous Eskimos in support of drilling. MARY JO STILL THERE Contradicting recent Justice Department predictions that Mary Jo White soon will be removed as U.S. attorney in Manhattan, White House sources say there are no immediate plans to replace the Clinton-appointed prosecutor. They add that her tenure may continue into next year. That ensures the statute of limitations in the AFL-CIO-Teamsters-Democratic National Committee 1996 campaign finance scandal will block additional indictments. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and Gerald McIntee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will be off the hook. The Bush administration has been reluctant to replace White with a Republican while she considers Bill Clinton's pardons issued during his last days of his presidency and corruption charges against Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey. A GORE MISTAKE? Al Gore's decision to keynote the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines Sept. 29 drew a mixed reaction from his 2000 presidential campaign team, with some key lieutenants calling it a serious mistake. These critics say Gore's appearance at the Iowa event makes him just another member of the big Democratic pack. But other advisers convinced the former vice president it was time to reassert himself politically after eight months in seclusion. A footnote: Gore is described by associates as being in extraordinary good humor. He laughs off the kind of Republican and news media attacks that antagonized him in 2000. RUN, BILL, RUN! Former Commerce Secretary William Daley, who may announce his candidacy for governor of Illinois within the next week, was privately advised to make the run four months ago by a prominent Republican: Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services in the Bush administration. Thompson served 14 years as governor of Wisconsin and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. When Thompson offered his advice, there was speculation Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin might run for governor and Daley would seek to replace him in the Senate. However, Daley has spent enough time in Washington to know he did not want to be a senator. A footnote: Daley's ambitions for governor were fully supported by his brother, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, once the mayor's friend, Republican Gov. George Ryan, said he would not seek re-election. Other Daley family members, however, prefer that Bill stay in New York and continue his new business ventures, which promise to make him rich. KENNEDY BLINKS Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic chairman of the Senate labor committee, is one of the Senate's most powerful figures, but he blinked first in a standoff with the committee's top Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg. Kennedy has blocked committee action on President Bush's nomination of Washington lawyer Eugene Scalia to be Labor Department solicitor. The son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, he is opposed by the AFL-CIO because of his positions on ergonomics (work-induced physical disorders). Gregg, a soft-spoken conservative from New Hampshire, threatened to bottle up committee business until Scalia was removed from storage and then made good on his threat. Consequently, Kennedy set a hearing on Scalia for Sept. 20.