The Senate will vote on the Keystone XL pipeline next week. If passed, the bill will be sent to President Obama’s desk, where he will either sign the measure into law or issue a veto.
— AJC Gov Affairs (@AJCgov) January 23, 2015
According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., kept the Senate in session until midnight Thursday voting on 15 amendments — 10 proposed by Democrats and five by Republicans.
McConnell issued two live quorum calls which mandated lawmakers appear on the floor, a move Fox News called “unusual.” The upper chamber also voted to have the body’s Sergeant at Arms call absent lawmakers to the floor.
The Democrats bemoaned the new majority leader when he tabled several Democratic amendments. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said it was not “in the best interest of what we are trying to achieve here.” But McConnell was quick to make an interesting point on the Senate floor after the vote on the 15th amendment:
“We’ve actually reached a milestone here that I think’s noteworthy for the Senate, that we just cast our 15th roll call vote on an amendment on [the Keystone XL] bill which is more votes, more roll call votes on amendments than the entire United States Senate in all of 2014.”
“This is the way the Senate ought to work,” he added.
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Still, McConnell received some flak from liberal activists and Democratic colleagues in the Senate for arguing that the upper chamber needed to work on Fridays, while on this particular Friday he is traveling to the “American Recovery Policy Forum,” a conference sponsored by an organization funded by Charles and David Koch.
Mitch McConnell shutting down the Senate for a Koch retreat shouldn’t be a surprise — he admitted he owes them big. http://t.co/CDrSIONvAu
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) January 23, 2015
McConnell committed to the Senate working on Fridays… … until the Koch brothers call.
— Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) January 23, 2015
Susan Ferrechio of The Washington Examiner argued on Fox News Friday that this sort of political jockeying is “nothing new.”
“The party in the minority always argues they’re not getting enough floor time. That’s not gonna change. So this is gonna be a messaging war.”
The House passed Keystone XL last week 266-153, and the Senate appears to have a filibuster-proof majority to send the measure to the president’s desk.