The Tea-Publican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Carbon Monopoly (oil, gas, coal). Not even J.D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil a century ago owned this many members of Congress lock, stock and barrel.
The Keystone Pipeline Act bill is S.1 , given the designation of the Senate’s top priority. These Tea-Publican senators should probably have to register as agents of a foreign country, given their intensive lobbying efforts on behalf of the TransCanada Corporation, a Canadian company.
This week the Senate is debating S.1 and considering amendments to the bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the new chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is empowered to decide whether amendments are germane to the bill. She has determined that almost all amendments offered are not germane, and thus under Senate rules require a super-majority of 60 votes for passage.
So naturally, Tea-Publicans are doing what they do best: filibustering amendments.
Remember when the U.S. had a policy of producing more oil to obtain “energy independence” from OPEC? That’s so over. Oil is a fungible product sold on a global market to the highest bidder. That dirty Canadian oil will be just passing through the U.S. to Louisiana, where it will be exported to the rest of the world.
S.AMDT.13 (Motion to Table Markey Amdt.) To ensure that oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline into the United States is used to reduce United States dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Vote: 57-42-1. Record Vote Number: 4. Motion to Table Agreed to. (McCain and Flake “yeah”).
Tea-Publicans like to claim that the pipeline will create lots of jobs and be good for the American economy. But they are not willing to require that American steel and other products be used in the construction of the pipeline.
S.AMDT.17 (Motion to Table Franken Amdt.) To require the use of iron, steel, and manufactured goods produced in the United States in the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and facilities. Vote: 53-46-1. Record Vote Number: 5. Motion to Table Agreed to. (McCain and Flake “yeah”).
In a real democracy with a simple majority vote, these next two amendments actually would have passed, even in the Tea-Publican controlled Senate. Instead they were filibustered.
S.AMDT.41 (Toomey Amdt.) To continue cleaning up fields and streams while protecting neighborhoods, generating affordable energy, and creating jobs. Vote: 54-45-1. Record Vote Number: 9. Rejected. (McCain and Flake “yeah”).
Remember those press reports about the giant “PetCoke” piles in places like Detroit and Chicago? Koch Brothers: Billionaires Place 3-Story Pile Of Petroleum Coke in Detroit. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin wanted to do something about it. Too bad, Dick.
S.AMDT.69 (Durbin Amdt.) To ensure that the storage and transportation of petroleum coke is regulated in a manner that ensures the protection of public and ecological health. Vote: 41-58-1. Record Vote Number: 8. Rejected. (McCain and Flake “nay”).
Finally, there were some Democratic amendments admittedly designed to troll Tea-Publicans on climate science denial, in particular, the Grand Poobah of the Flat Earth Society, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who wrote a book entitled “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” (I assume the original manuscript was written in crayon). He is now chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — two things he does not believe in.
Inhofe did a little trolling of his own. Jim Inhofe flips the script on Democratic climate-change-is-a-hoax vote. Inhofe joined Sen. Whitehouse as a cosponsor, citing “biblical evidence.” The hoax, he said, is “the idea that man was responsible. Such a position was ‘arrogant,’ in his formulation, the idea that people could affect the mechanisms that controlled the globe.” So in his formulation, God directs the weather — which is even a greater denial of the sciences.
Tea-Publicans returned to filibusters again, even filibustering an amendment by Sen. Hoven, the lead sponsor of S.1. In a real democracy with a simple majority vote, both of these amendments would have passed.
The Hoeven amendment says it’s the sense of Congress that it should reject any federal policies that increase the cost of energy and hurt jobs. It says Congress should put a priority on policies that enable innovation and that could lead to clean sources of energy, but it does not specify what policies those are and does not address whether climate change is real.
Finally, Hawaii Sen. Schatz offered an amendment: the Schatz’s amendment cites scientific bodies like the National Research Council and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in asking whether it’s the “sense of Congress” that “climate change is real” and that “human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”
The Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, had promised Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that his amendment would be given a vote last week, but that amendment was not scheduled for Wednesday. Perhaps another day, and another filibuster.
S.AMDT.24 proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I–VT):
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;
(4) a brief window of opportunity exists before the United States and the entire planet suffer irreparable harm; and
(5) it is imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible.