McConnell puts Reid on the spot for Keystone

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said all Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has to do for the Senate to move forward on Keystone XL is change his attitude.

"All the majority leader has to do is quit acting the way he's acting," McConnell said Tuesday.

After the Senate failed to advance an energy efficiency bill Monday during a procedural vote, all bets were off between Reid and McConnell on allowing a stand-alone vote approving the oil-sands pipeline to come before the upper chamber.

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McConnell argued that it didn't need to be that way.

"The majority leader can schedule a vote on the Keystone pipeline at any time. He has several members that would like to have that vote," McConnell added, hinting at vulnerable Democrats, such as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who are facing tough reelection races.

He went on to say that, if Republicans had been allowed energy-related amendments, a number of Democrats would have voted in favor of them in order to distance themselves from President Obama.

"They are running away from the president as rapidly as they can," McConnell said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a co-sponsor of the energy efficiency bill that died Monday, echoed McConnell's sentiments.

“Sen. Reid’s decision to deny Republicans the ability to offer a handful of energy-related amendments was a sad milestone in the downward spiral of the Senate, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. There is nothing stopping the majority leader from bringing up a binding vote on Keystone XL or any other priority," she said.

Still, the likelihood of Reid bringing a binding piece of legislation that would approve the pipeline to the floor before the end of the year is slim.

Even if Keystone XL were to pass Congress, Obama would veto it the moment it fell on his desk, citing the ongoing review process.