Two Senate Democrats are facing criticism for voting to defy President Biden and overrule his decision to kill the Keystone XL oil pipeline — before later voting to reverse themselves.
Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia initially voted for a Republican amendment that would have put support for the pipeline in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that Democrats are drafting under budget reconciliation.
Their votes meant the amendment passed 52-48 just before midnight, threatening to reverse Biden’s decision last month to end construction of the pipeline from Canada, citing environmental concerns but costing thousands of jobs.
But around 5 a.m., before final passage of a measure instructing committees to draft legislation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced an amendment that removed the Keystone XL provision and two others. Both Tester and Manchin supported that Schumer amendment, undoing their earlier vote.
Vice President Kamala Harris supported Democrats on Schumer’s amendment, which had tied 50-50 reflecting the even partisan division. Harris did not vote in most other 50-50 tie votes on amendment, which were considered to have failed.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) sponsored the Keystone pipeline amendment and his office hammered the flip-flopping colleagues.
“In the wee hours of the morning, in the most DC swampy way possible, Senate Democrats flip flopped on their support for American energy and union jobs by killing Senator Daines’ Keystone XL Pipeline amendment and another supporting fracking,” a spokesperson for Daines said.
“They thought they could get away with it while the American people were asleep. Folks will know that when it came down to it, every single Senate Democrat chose to stand with the job-killing, Green New Deal radicals over American union jobs and blue-collar workers. For those representing Western states and for those that flip flopped on their support, you’ll have some explaining to do, not just on your opposition to the pipeline and fracking, but for your misleading attempt to pull a fast one to protect a partisan, far Left agenda.”
Spokespeople for Manchin and Tester did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment.