Democrats launched the first filibuster of the new Congress on Thursday, objecting to the GOP’s effort to try to bring the Keystone XL pipeline bill to the floor early next week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to schedule action early next week on the bill, and promised an open process, including allowing both sides to offer amendments to the bill — an attempt to break with the previous few years, when Democrats controlled the floor and kept a tight lid on amendments.
But Democrats objected to Mr. McConnell’s request, forcing him to begin the procedure for breaking a filibuster.
“We’ll work through this because we’re determined to get bipartisan jobs legislation on the president’s desk as soon as we can,” Mr. McConnell said.
The proceedings represented a role-reversal from the last Congress, when Democrats tried to push bills to the floor only to face a GOP filibuster. In many of those cases, however, Republicans said they were filibustering because Democrats — led by Sen. Harry Reid — blocked out all amendments. This time around, Mr. McConnell promised to allow amendments from all sides.
Keystone has bipartisan support, but President Obama has vowed a veto. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, said he thinks there could be enough Democrats willing to support the pipeline that the Senate could overturn an Obama veto, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her troops in the lower chamber would sustain Mr. Obama’s veto.