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Senate surpasses 2014 vote total in one week

The new Republican-controlled Senate has already voted on more amendments in one week than the Democratic-controlled Senate considered in all of 2014.

Republican senators applauded the feat when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced it on the Senate floor.

"We've actually reached a milestone here that I think is noteworthy for the Senate. We just cast our 15th roll-call vote on an amendment on this bill, which is more votes - more roll-call votes on amendments than the entire United States Senate [did] in all of 2014," he said.

McConnell made his announcement while colleagues were in the midst of churning through a batch of 10 amendments.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who presided as majority leader last year, defended the chamber's record during a press conference with reporters earlier in the day.

"The success of a Congress is not determined on how many amendments people vote on. The success of this Congress will be determined on what happens to the middle class," he said.

Reid accused Republicans of cynically blocking President Obama's agenda over the past six years "and the middle class has been hurt, hurt, hurt."

He argued that passing legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline, the first order of Senate business this year, would help Canada export oil overseas and not help middle class families.

Republicans campaigned extensively during the midterm elections on the handful of votes Reid allowed on amendments.

Former Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) came under attack for not getting a vote on a single amendment he sponsored during his six-year career.

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