Keystone XL Pipelineby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2015-01-12
McCONNELL. Mr. President, last week the House of Representatives
voted on a bipartisan basis to pass a Keystone jobs and infrastructure
bill. Meanwhile, the Senate energy committee got the process moving in
this Chamber as it debated and approved a bipartisan Keystone measure
as well. The committee consideration allows Senators from both parties
to offer amendments and make their voices heard. It is the kind of
serious legislating many Senators have been waiting a long time to see.
It is the latest example of Congress getting back to work under a new
Later this afternoon we will consider a cloture motion that will allow us to proceed to a similarly open debate here on the Senate floor. I know Senators from both sides are hungry for a real Senate debate. I know they want to offer amendments. I know they are anxious to finally have their voices and the voices of the people they represent heard here on the Senate floor. I expect the cloture motion to pass on a bipartisan basis.
Of course, we originally hoped to start this process last Thursday. We wanted to spend Friday working on this bipartisan jobs bill, but the Senate lost that opportunity when some colleagues across the aisle objected to beginning the debate.
Now, moving forward, what I would urge is for our Democratic friends to work with us as the new Republican majority continues to bring more openness to the Senate. The changes we are making are ones that many Democrats have indicated they want to see as well. The reforms we are implementing will give a real voice to constituents represented by Democratic Senators. We need to work together to ensure positive change takes hold. I am hopeful that will happen.
Here is one consequence of that delay I mentioned. The Nebraska Supreme Court has since eliminated what has to be the last conceivable pretext to veto the Keystone jobs bill, so we will be starting the Senate's debate at a time when the rationale for building this pipeline has almost never been more obvious.
I know the American people would welcome a change in posture from the President. I know supporters in both parties are determined to get a bipartisan jobs and infrastructure bill to his desk as soon as possible. We will take the next step in the process at 5:30 p.m. today, and then we will have an open floor debate on jobs, the middle class, [[Page S134]] infrastructure, and energy. At the end of this process, we will send a bipartisan jobs bill to the President. We will fulfill our pledge to stop protecting him from good ideas. It may force the President to finally make a difficult choice between jobs and the middle class versus the demands of powerful special interests, but President Obama now has every reason to sign the bipartisan jobs and infrastructure bill we will pass.
I yield the floor.