Outraged Senate Democrats are livid because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly cut off debate on the Keystone XL bill so that Republicans could attend a weekend conference with the Koch brothers.
Video of McConnell cutting off debate:
Blindsided Democrats accused the Kentucky Republican of shutting down a Senate that he had promised to run in a more open way than their own leaders did. They also wondered aloud if Republicans were trying to wrap up all Keystone business to accommodate a conference scheduled for this weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., that’s affiliated with the billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch.
“Senator McConnell’s rush to vote on amendments without providing time to read or debate them could have something to do with this Koch retreat tomorrow, which a number of Republican senators are reportedly attending…,” Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said by email.
Jentleson and several other Democratic aides suggested that McConnell might have acted to let the Senate GOP’s trio of expected White House hopefuls, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, make their way to the conference.
The open amendment filled Senate process that Mitch McConnell promised when he became Majority Leader evaporated as soon as the Koch brothers came calling. What McConnell doesn’t want to admit is that the Democratic strategy to turn Keystone XL into a real jobs/climate change bill was working. Senate Democrats were going to keep holding Republican feet to the fire, and they didn’t like it.
There is no way that McConnell was about let anything get in the way of the Republican Party’s real duty of serving the Koch brothers. When push came to shove, McConnell quickly went back on his word and shut down the so-called “open” process. McConnell behavior is evidence of the Republican-run Senate’s real priorities. Nothing is more important to Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans than the Koch brothers.