Senate Democrats and Independents are pushing back hard on Keystone XL. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has kicked off the Democratic counter by filing a climate change amendment to the bill authorizing the construction of the pipeline.
It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that—
(1) climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;
Sen. Sanders said, “The American people need to know whether Congress is listening to the overwhelming majority of scientists when it comes to climate change. On this issue, the scientists have been virtually unanimous in saying that climate change is real, it is caused by human action, it is already causing devastating problems which will only get worse in the future and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. Do members of Congress believe the scientists or not?”
Republicans will never admit that climate change is real and caused by human activities, but the Senate Democratic caucus is using the Republican obsession with Keystone XL to advance their agenda that is based on scientific facts. Democrats are going to be proposing a series of amendments to the Keystone XL bill that are designed to turn the Republican gift to the oil companies into a real jobs bill.
These amendments are also a test of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to run a more open Senate that will allow votes on amendments. Republicans are beholden to the special interests who are pushing climate changing denying propaganda, so it is doubtful that the Sanders climate change amendment will pass, but these amendments are important because they will force Republicans to debate and discuss issues that they don’t want to talk about.
Sen. Sanders (I-VT) and the Democratic caucus are already upsetting the plans of the Republican Senate majority. Republicans were under the impression that they were going to be able to pass legislation by rolling over Democrats. This has not happened. Congressional Democrats and the Independents who caucus with them have united with the president against the Republican plans.
The bill authorizing Keystone XL will eventually pass the Senate. It will be vetoed by President Obama, and Senate and House Democrats will make sure that his veto is sustained. Debates on climate change and presidential vetoes are examples of the new reality that is slapping Republicans in the face.