An all-night Senate debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left Democrats angered and frustrated following “seemingly endless series of amendment votes and quorum calls,” according to Politico.
McConnell ended Thursday’s debate around midnight after a long night of voting on 15 amendments to the controversial Keystone bill. Of the 15 amendments presented, Democrats proposed 10 and Republicans proposed five. After shutting down a handful of the Dems’ amendments, McConnell shut down the debate – leaving Democrats fuming.
Many accused McConnell of intentionally ending the meeting quickly to accommodate a retreat in California sponsored by a group associated with mega-rich 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 Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, said in an email.
Three prominent Republican senators – Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio – are all believed to be attending to Koch conference.
Jentleson warned in his email that McConnell rushing to finish the debate in order to “rub shoulders with the billionaire Koch brothers” was a “defining moment” of his time as Majority leader.
While Democrats were angry that McConnell prevented them from making real progress on the debate, the GOP celebrated the fact that the Senate has already voted on more amendments in 2015 than they did all year in 2014. “After yrs [sic] of dysfunction, it’s good to see us finally getting to work, having open debate … And allowing senators from both sides the chance to offer ideas and shape policy,” Republican Sen. Pat Toomey tweeted.
The Senate will hold a final vote on the Keystone XL bill before the end of the coming week, following work on six remaining amendments.