After Voting For Five Filibusters, Senator Heidi Heitkamp Lectures About Compromise

heidi heitkamp

My newspaper column this week (read it in the Minot Daily News or on deals with Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s strange approach to bipartisanship and compromise.

After campaigning against obstructionism and filibusters, and posturing herself as a centrist, Heitkamp voted no fewer than five times to filibuster even beginning debate on a House bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. She also tried to attach several poison pill amendments to a bill authorizing the Keystone pipeline (among them a hike in the minimum wage and an extension of wind power subsidies).

Heitkamp’s words don’t match her actions, it seems.

What’s ironic is that shortly after these votes Senator Heitkamp addressed a classroom of Minot High School civics students and lectured them about¬†compromise in Washington DC:

Compromise for so many people is a dirty word here in (this) town,” said Heitkamp, who spoke via video conference to an American government class at Minot High School-Magic City Campus.

Heitkamp spoke of hardliners in the Senate who will refuse to compromise on an issue no matter what, leading to legislative gridlock.

“I call them the ‘hell nos,'” said Heitkamp.

Someone should ask Senator Heitkamp how she can simultaneously chastise the “hell nos” while voting to filibuster legislation she ostensibly agrees with? True, Republicans were seeking to use the DHS budget as a vehicle to overturn President Obama’s executive order on immigration, but Heitkmap herself has expressed opposition to that executive order. So why the filibuster?

Other than Heitkamp’s partisan loyalties which she claims to eschew in favor of compromise?

Heitkamp is talking out of both sides of her mouth on this issue. If she wants to use tactics like the filibuster and poison pill amendments to block legislation she opposes, then fine. But she should explain those decisions, and she certainly shouldn’t get to¬†attack the very sort of tactics she deploys.