If there was one hallmark of Harry Reid’s tenure as Senate majority leader, it was his ability to limit the amendment process on legislation which he favored. Whether it was a tactic of flooding the zone with “Christmas tree” amendments of his own, leaving no room for minority additions. or simply shutting down debate, Reid’s mantra on the crafting of legislation was that it would be his way or the highway. And all that time the senior members of his caucus would smile and nod approvingly. One of the smiling nodders in question was Chuck Schumer, (D – NY) a man known for trampling animals and small children if they happened to be between him and a camera.
But now the shoe is on the other foot and my how things have changed. One of the first subjects up for debate in the upper chamber is a measure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and suddenly Chuck Schumer is a vocal advocate of the amendment process.
Senate Democrats are pressing amendments to legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline, arguing their proposals would “actually make it an American jobs bill.”
“We have some suggestions on how to make the bill better and actually make it an American jobs bill. If Republicans oppose us they will be making it crystal clear to Americans that they are on the side of narrow special interests rather than on the side of America’s middle class,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.
“If Republicans vote against these amendments none of them can say it’s an American jobs bill,” Schumer added.
Oh, yes… Schumer has “some suggestions” to improve the bill. One, put forward with Ed Markey, would institute a ban on the export of all oil shipped through the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. I’m not sure if these Democrats understand this or not, but the proposal on the table is simply to offer government approval of a plan to build the pipeline. They don’t actually own the pipeline or any of the oil that will flow through it. We don’t have a nationalized, government owned oil industry in this country as they do in socialist nations, even though Schumer has suggested that idea in the past.
Chuck is also ready to tack on an amendment to address climate change as part of approving construction. How that relates to “jobs for Americans” is not explained by the august New York senator.
Not all of the proposed amendments are entirely insane. One would mandate the use of American steel during construction. Unlike a lot of conservatives, I’m never opposed to a bit of protectionism for American industry, particularly when the government has a stake in the go or no go status of the operation. It’s a relatively small price to pay and the American steel industry could certainly use a boost.
But none of this gets to the true heart of the hypocrisy on display. Let’s say that Schumer got every item on his wish list. One might assume that would “fix the bill” and make it an “American jobs bill” as Chuck suggests, so it would have his support, right? (Emphasis added.)
Supporters of the Keystone bill appear to have the 60 votes that they need to overcome a Democratic filibuster and move the legislation to President Obama’s desk.
The White House has said Obama would veto the Keystone bill, however, and Senate Republicans appear to be short of the 67 votes they would need to override him.
Schumer said the amendments being proposed by Democrats Tuesday would “improve” the Keystone bill, “but not enough to vote for it.”
So essentially Chuck Schumer wants to tack on a bunch of poison pills to the bill, but even if McConnell goes along with it and the measures pass, he’ll still vote against the bill? Well done, gentlemen. We can tell that you’re truly serious about working together and getting the work of the people done.