You do sort of get the impression from Republicans, having taken control of Congress during the Zombie Mid-Terms of 2014, that they thought they’d just been handed the keys to the kingdom. In fact, a lot of people thought that. But, as it turns out, the GOP’s opposition isn’t proving quite as spineless as they were counting on. First Obama’s promise to brandish the veto pen with vigor, and now a wallop to the Republican jaw from our own progressive hero, Bernie Sanders.
It’s no secret that the Republicans’ pet Keystone XL pipeline approval is due to meet a grisly death at the point of Obama’s veto pen. He’s said so openly, and we’ve got every reason t believe he’ll hold firm. At least, as long as he needs it for leverage to control our psychotic, Teapublican congress. As it stands, the Keystone XL is dead on arrival to Obama’s desk.
But it might not even get that far, if Bernie Sanders has his say about it. Yesterday, Bernie filed an amendment to the Republicans’ guaranteed-to-fail Keystone XL bill forcing Republicans to acknowledge a few things their donors would really rather they not talk about:
(1) It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that— climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;
“The American people need to know whether Congress is listening to the overwhelming majority of scientists when it comes to climate change. On this issue, the scientists have been virtually unanimous in saying that climate change is real, it is caused by human action, it is already causing devastating problems which will only get worse in the future and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. Do members of Congress believe the scientists or not?”
At this point, it’s about as likely that Sanders’ amendment will make it into the bill as the bill is likely to make it past Obama’s veto pen. The GOP will kill it. But they’re going to have to talk about why they’re killing it, and engage in some debate on the matter to explain why they don’t agree with people who know things. In the past, most have gotten away with openly debating the reality of climate change, its impacts, and what we can or should do about it but shucking along to “jobs, conspiracies and Noah’s Ark.”
But forcing Republicans to find valid reasons for refusing to agree with this carefully worded statement narrows the argument considerably. Because, how many valid rebuttals are there that don’t come down to science denial and conspiracy theories? At the very least, Sanders’ brilliant stroke will force Republicans to openly state which ridiculous premise they stand behind. Which is an important step in the right direction.
And that’s why Bernie Sanders is our hero.