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The Republican lawmakers were concerned the provision permitting oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would jeopardize approval of a larger budget bill.
But the setback doesn't mean the Alaska proposal is dead; the Senate has included the provision in its budget bill.
Negotiators from the Senate and House will now meet to hammer out an agreement.
The overall budget bill aims to cut close to $54 billion US in spending, including provisions to curb Medicaid's growth, cut student loan subsidies and tightening rules for food stamp eligibility.