Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has forced Senate Republicans into a potentially embarrassing vote on whether or not climate change is real. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that the Senate will vote on the Sanders climate change amendment to the Keystone XL bill.
The Hill reported:
At his weekly press briefing, McConnell said “nobody is blocking any amendments” to legislation that would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The GOP leader had promised to allow an open amendment process on the Keystone bill.
But a measure proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had raised questions about whether he would stick to that commitment.
Democrats believe the measure could be a tough vote for some Republicans, particularly GOP senators running for reelection in 2016 in states carried by President Obama in 2012.
McConnell shot back at reports he might block the Sanders amendment, exclaiming “yeah” when asked if his caucus is prepared to take a vote on climate change.
The Sanders amendment is part of a strategy within the Democratic caucus to test Mitch McConnell’s commitment to an open amendment process. The strategy also is going to force Republicans into taking several uncomfortable votes. Senate Republican incumbents in blue states who are already facing a potentially difficult reelection environment will now be forced to own their positions on climate change.
The amendment that Sen. Sanders filed states:
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 has wrecked Republican plans for simple passage of the bill by wanted to get Republicans to admit their climate change denial positions on the record, “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?”
The debate and amendment process will take the Senate weeks to get through. So far Mitch McConnell is sticking to his word about allowing votes on amendments, but Bernie Sanders and his fellow members of the Democratic caucus are getting set to make life very uncomfortable by not allowing Republicans to hide their extremist positions any longer.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association