WASHINGTON -- The Senate embraced President Bush's scaled-down plan for oil and gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico by rejecting an amendment Thursday that would have blocked energy production off Florida's shores.
Eighteen Democrats joined all Republican senators to kill the proposed ban.
Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer hailed the 67-33 vote as "a victory for all Americans who want to see environmentally responsible energy production."
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who had proposed the amendment to the Interior Department spending bill, said the vote was "a blow to those of us who want to protect Florida's economy and environment from the threat of oil drilling."
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