When Republicans won control of the U.S. Senate they promised a return to regular order for business in that chamber. Which is to say that unlike the Senate under Democrat control, the minority party would be afforded an opportunity to offer and debate amendments to bills before they’re moved to a vote.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”Heitkamp wants us to believe that she went to Washington to bridge the partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans. Yet here she is, trying to exact a pound of flesh in exchange for approving a Republican bill with the rest of the partisan democrats.”[/mks_pullquote]
The first bill to go through this process is legislation introduced by Senator John Hoeven to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, something President Barack Obama has chosen not to make a decision on for purely political reasons. Democrats in the Senate, also for purely political reasons, have decided to welcome the return to regular order implemented by Republicans by filibustering the Keystone bill and offering an interminable series of amendments to the bill.
What’s surprising is that North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, supposedly a moderate and a centrist who supports the Keystone pipeline, has largely joined in with her fellow liberals. In addition to revealing herself as a big, giant hypocrite on the filibuster Heitkamp has proposed saddling the Keystone legislation with an amendment raising the minimum wage and, most recently, an amendment extending subsidies for wind power.
Heitkamp’s amendment failed last night (Senator Hoeven voted no), but here’s the larger issue: If Heitkamp is really the moderate centrist she claims to be, if she’s really as opposed to the partisan games which get played in Washington DC as she claims to be, why is she so busy playing those games with her fellow Democrats?
If she supports the Keystone legislation, and she says she does, why doesn’t she just demand a clean vote on the issue from her fellow Democrats to that the Senate can move on to other business?
Heitkamp wants us to believe that she went to Washington to bridge the partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans. Yet here she is, trying to exact a pound of flesh in exchange for approving a Republican bill with the rest of the partisan democrats.
This isn’t even about wind subsidies. That sort of legislation can be debated on its own merits. This is about the Senate moving ahead with its business, something Heitkamp claims to want with words but denies with her actions.