Even after Senate Republicans blocked me from speaking on the United States Senate floor last Thursday, I will not pipe down about Senate Republicans and the oil industry’s Keystone XL pipeline pipe dream.
I have tried to debate two of my amendments to the Keystone XL pipeline legislation. The first would ban the re-export of the Canadian tar sands transported through the Keystone pipeline and the gasoline and other products made from that oil, so we would keep it here in America.
The second would close the tax loophole that gives Canadian tar sands a tax free ride through our country by not having to pay into the oil spill fund. That means if this Canadian tar sands oil spills as it moves through this straw we are building across America, it would be American taxpayers who would foot the bill.
On the first amendment, along with amendments from four other of my Democratic colleagues, Republican leaders used a procedural maneuver to deny us a straight up-or-down vote by moving to “table” these amendments. They wouldn’t even let me speak for one minute to defend my amendment to close this oil company tax loophole.
Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership promised an open amendment process, but they have closed down debate, and they aren’t allowing up-or-down votes on important Democratic amendments.
Here’s the reason why: They know if they allow real debate and real votes on these amendments, their arguments for this Keystone pipeline pipe dream will be shown as completely hollow.
They know that if they allow real debate and real votes on exports, they’ll prove this pipeline was never about energy independence, even after all of their rhetoric and the ads saying Keystone is about “North American energy security.”
They know that if they allow real debate and real votes on using U.S. steel to build the pipeline, they’ll prove this isn’t really an American jobs bill.
They know that if they allow real debate and real votes on closing an oil company tax loophole, they’ll prove that they are Big Oil boosters who will kill clean energy tax incentives but preserve oil company tax breaks.
The American people want a United States Senate that is working to keep energy prices low for Main Street, not approve foreign oil export pipelines that will raise oil prices and oil company profits on Wall Street.
Senate Republicans are trying to ram through a pipeline that could spill and harm drinking water sources, and now they are poisoning the Senate well by closing off debate.
We need an up-or-down vote on my amendments that put Senators on the record about whether they favor the interests of the oil industry over those of consumers, businesses, our climate, and our national security. Senate Republicans should not be allowed to shut down this important national debate.