In their first successful filibuster of 2015, Democrats in the Senate on Monday evening delayed the march to final action on a bipartisan plan to force the start of construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, demanding more debate and more votes on proposed changes to the measure.
Four Democrats voted with Republicans to bring an end to debate, but several others withheld their votes, supporting opponents of the pipeline who charged their amendments were being shut out by the GOP.
“There are many of my colleagues that had amendments they wanted to offer,” complained Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).
Democrats were angered by what happened last Thursday, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was trying to push debate along, as the GOP stopped several Democrats from talking about their amendments.
“The majority did not even make it possible for me to speak for one minute,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), one of the staunchest opponents of the pipeline.
McConnell now will likely have to allow for further amendments, which could delay final votes on the pipeline into next week.
The debate on the Keystone bill began January 9, a reminder of how long it can take to get the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body to act on anything remotely controversial.