McConnell Urges Senate Support For Keystone Infrastructure Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor urging Senate Democrats to vote for legislation approving construction of the Keystone Pipeline:

“This weekend, President Obama’s Chief of Staff lamented that the Senate has taken several weeks to debate an ‘infrastructure project’ — the Keystone jobs bill. 

“I agree it’s about time to bring the Keystone debate to a positive conclusion, and we’ll do that soon. We’ve had a lot of floor discussion. We’ve considered Democrat and Republican amendments.

“All in all, the last few weeks have been time well spent. The debate has been good for our country. But tonight is our chance to notch another win for the middle class by supporting cloture and then actually passing this bipartisan jobs bill.

“Now, we’ve heard rumors that some in the Democratic leadership are pressuring rank-and-file Democrats — even Democrats who cosponsored this bill — to block Keystone’s jobs with a filibuster instead.

“This is really disappointing when you consider all that our friends on the other side have been saying about the filibuster for so many years.

“What’s most disappointing, though, is the apparent reasoning for this Keystone filibuster.

“The Democratic leadership is claiming that there haven’t been enough opportunities to consider amendments.

“And yet, 9 current Senate Democrats voted for Keystone just a few weeks ago without having the opportunity to offer or debate even a single amendment. This time around, the new Republican majority allowed more amendment roll-call votes on just this one bill than the previous leadership allowed on every single bill from last year combined. I would also note that a majority of the amendments we’ve taken roll-call votes on were offered by Democrats.

“We also offered our friends on the other side an opportunity to consider more amendments just a few days ago. They objected to it at the time. Even so, it’s still my hope that we’ll be able to consider more amendments from both sides of the aisle. Instead of filibustering this bill or blocking their own amendments, I’m asking my Democratic friends to work with the bill manager, Senator Murkowski — who’s done fantastic work on this bill, by the way — to get amendments lined up.  

“Let’s keep up the positive momentum generated by a more open legislative process that’s benefited both parties.

“A Keystone filibuster cannot succeed without the support of Democrats who voted for a Keystone bill just a few weeks ago without any amendments, and who are cosponsoring this jobs bill today.
“So I truly hope these Democrats won’t vote to block Keystone’s jobs now, just because a different party controls the Senate. The American people voted decisively against this type of partisan gridlock in November. They want us to work together to get things done.

“Let’s continue to do that.

“The debate over this bipartisan bill has already had so many positive effects on the Senate as an institution.

“It’s shown Senators the benefits of a more open process. It’s given a real voice to the minority. And it represents a decisive change from the broken Senate of recent years.

“Here’s how the Assistant Democratic Leader put it just a few days ago: ‘we are in a healthy environment on the floor of the Senate where we are pursuing amendments and active debate.’

“It’s ‘great to see’ this happening, he said.

“So I would urge the Senate not to fall back into old partisan habits. Let’s keep working together. Let’s cooperate to get this important infrastructure project over the finish line and on to the president’s desk.

“I’m calling on all of my colleagues — especially the cosponsors of this bipartisan bill, especially those who’ve supported Keystone without any amendments in the past — to vote for jobs and progress tonight, not the kind of gridlock American voters just rejected so emphatically.”

Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Jobs, Restoring the Senate, Keystone XL Pipeline, Energy, Infrastructure