McConnell threatens midnight session over Keystone XL pipeline

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is threatening to keep senators working until after midnight Tuesday to break Democratic opposition to moving ahead with approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

{mosads}McConnell warned he would keep the Senate in session until the early morning if that’s what is necessary to begin consideration of amendments to the Keystone bill as soon as possible.

“Some of our colleagues on the other side continue to filibuster the motion to proceed to this bill. All senators should know that we will get on this bill today and begin the amendment process — either this afternoon by consent, or shortly after midnight without consent,” he said.

McConnell vowed while in the minority that Republicans would work later hours and longer weeks to wear down opponents who throw up procedural delays.

He also promised to allow Democrats to offer amendments to legislation.

But McConnell vowed he would not let Democrats use their ability to offer amendments to stretch out floor debates for weeks simply to burn up the calendar.

“We will conduct a fair and open amendment process but not an open-ended one,” he said.

He said an objection to yielding back time and proceeding straight to the consideration of Keystone amendments has the net effect of blocking Democrats from offering proposals.

“It is surprising to me that some Democrat senators are choosing to exercise their procedural rights in order to block their own colleagues from offering amendments to this bill,” he said. “Even though, at this point, the only senators who have filed amendments at the desk are Republican senators.”

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said members on his side of the aisle were “in the process of negotiating and discussing” the amendments they will offer.

“There is no question that we will be prepared, too, and offering amendments. We are trying to finalize the language at this point, and the order that the amendments will be offered,” he said.

He emphasized that Democrats do not plan to obstruct the bill.

The Senate voted 63-32 on Monday to end a Democratic filibuster of the motion to proceed to the legislation.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide accused McConnell of already walking away from his pledge to allow an open amendment process for Keystone.

“Sounds like Sen. McConnell is preparing to break yet another pledge — and it’s only the second week of the new Senate,” the aide said.

Tags Dick Durbin Keystone XL Mitch McConnell
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