What: All Issues : Environment : Global Warming : (S. 1) On a motion to table (kill) an amendment requiring oil companies to sell their petroleum in the United States, rather than on the world market, if it was transported through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline
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(S. 1) On a motion to table (kill) an amendment requiring oil companies to sell their petroleum in the United States, rather than on the world market, if it was transported through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline
senate Roll Call 4     Jan 20, 2015
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This vote was on a motion to table (kill) an amendment requiring oil companies to sell their petroleum in the United States, rather than on the world market, if it was transported through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The vote came as the Senate debated Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-ND) bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Keystone pipeline would connect Canada’s oil sands to the United States and, by extension, the global market for petroleum. President Obama’s administration was in the process of reviewing TransCanada’s application to build the cross-border pipeline, but the process had dragged on and become a divisive political symbol. Sen. Hoeven’s bill would authorize TransCanada’s permit, cutting short the Obama administration’s deliberations.

During the debate on Sen. Hoeven’s bill, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) had offered an amendment stating that petroleum that traveled through the Keystone pipeline could not be sold on the world market. However, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) offered a “motion to table” Sen. Markey’s amendment. This motion would essentially kill the amendment, preventing an up-or-down vote on the proposal.

Sen. Markey argued that lawmakers should allow a vote on his proposal because it was the only way to ensure that the Keystone pipeline would benefit the United States, as its supporters insisted it would. TransCanada was simply looking for a cheap way to get its product to the world market, and without the amendment, Americans would get nothing in return for the increased risk of oil spills and pollution, Sen. Markey said.

“We import 5 million barrels of oil per day into the United States. We should not allow the Canadians to use the United States as a straw to be able to then go down to the Gulf of Mexico and send that oil out of the country,” Sen. Markey said. “We should be working to have energy independence in America. When we are importing 5 million barrels of oil a day from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, we are in no way independent.”

Supporters of the motion to table Sen. Markey’s amendment argued that, if the Keystone pipeline were not built, then TransCanada would find a different way to get its oil to the market. This would probably mean sending it to Canada’s west coast, where it would all be shipped overseas, Sen. Hoeven argued.

“(Sen. Markey) is making an argument that doesn’t work in a global economy, where he is saying if we can’t have 100 percent of it every single day – not one drop leaves – then export all of it. I want 100 percent or nothing. That doesn’t make sense,” Sen. Hoeven said. “As we produce more oil, we not only help ourselves, we help our allies. So we have to understand what it takes to build an energy plan and do it the right way rather than blocking the very infrastructure and doing the very things that have led to incredible benefits today for our consumers at the pump.”

The Senate agreed to the motion to table by a vote of 57-42. Voting “yea” were 54 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Voting “nay” were 42 Democrats. As a result, the Senate killed an amendment requiring oil companies to sell their petroleum in the United States, rather than on the world market, if it was transported through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

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