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Pipeline Politics
Here Come Congressional Votes on Keystone

After six years of languishing in political limbo, the Keystone XL pipeline may get Congressional approval as soon as next week. Two candidates in a run-off election for a Louisiana Senate seat have introduced parallel bills in the Senate and the House this week in a bid to garner votes ahead of a December 6 runoff election. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow, and the Senate could do the same as early as Tuesday. Bloomberg explains the rationale behind this legislative blitzkrieg:

The Louisiana election runoff is coming to Capitol Hill with Republicans and Democrats scheduling votes on the Keystone XL pipeline, as each party seeks to clinch the last undecided U.S. Senate seat. […]

Keystone has been a central issue in the Louisiana contest, with both candidates highlighting their support for it. [Democratic Senator Mary] Landrieu has focused on the pipeline as a way to distinguish herself from Obama, who lost Louisiana in 2012, and to proclaim backing for an energy industry that provides thousands of jobs in the state.

The House is expected to pass its own version of Landrieu’s bill tomorrow, proposed by Landrieu’s Republican challenger Representative Bill Cassidy. But the House has passed versions of this bill before; the question now is whether or not the Senate has enough votes now, before the Republican majority takes over. They’re close, with 58 out of the necessary 60 locked down, and there’s some speculation that some Democrats on the fence may sign on in an attempt to boost Landrieu in the runoff. If that happens, the legislation will still have to get past President Obama’s desk, and his press secretary noted that the White House “has taken a dim view of these kinds of legislative proposals in the past.”

How this pipeline, one of many options for Canadian oil-sands producers to transport their crude to market, became such a hot-button green issue is anybody’s guess. Though multiple reports from the State Department have shown that the Keystone XL project will not have a net effect on global greenhouse gas emissions, the White House has kicked the can down the road on approving it for six years now. These delays have been politically motivated, as President Obama has been wary of alienating his green base, which has chosen this as its marquee issue. Now, politics are once again intervening in what should have been a relatively mundane approval process for the cross-border pipeline, and they may force the President’s hand on the issue sooner than he thought.

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  • Corlyss

    In this Congress? Has everyone forgotten that Harry “My job is to protect Barry from things he doesn’t want to see” Reid still runs the Senate? How about the fact that Landrieu can’t help them with her election? Obama doesn’t want this legislation to come to him. I’m betting Reid simply refuses to bring it to a vote.

    • Pete

      Either way, hopefully Mary “Baby Fat” Landrieu loses.

    • rheddles

      You forget that Harry was subbussed by Barry in the election. Harry’s now a nobody and mighty PO’d about it. He’ll give free rein to his minions to assure his election to a position as powerful as the Vice Presidency.

      • Corlyss

        What means this “subbussed?”

        Who’s left in the Dim caucus, Rhed? The hardliners, including Reid. There were only 9 losers in their caucus. It would have taken 15 Dims to get to 60. It don’t matter that 5 others voted for it – the caucuses give what they call “hall passes” to members who would suffer recriminations from their constituents if they voted against legislation popular among their constituents. Landrieu had to have a vote, so at the least she can blame the failure on stubborn colleagues rather than a her absence of clout in the caucus. 4 other Dims got hall passes. As my post 5 days ago demonstrates, this is not an unexpected result among people who know something about how “inside the beltway” operates. With the way things developed as of Doofus’ 5 Nov presser and his stunningly dense “2/3ds” remark, it really should not have been a surprise anyone.

    • Corlyss

      Y’all heard it here first. I was wrong in that it did come to a vote, but I know how the leadership works: it would never have been called if the leadership hadn’t known it would fail.

  • Andrew Allison

    As noted, the House has passed versions of this bill before, which the Senate has refused to consider. Suddenly, Democrats are falling over themselves to pass a bill of their own in the hope of saving a Senate seat. Is it any wonder that the country is disgusted with Congress?

  • Gerald

    Mary Landrieu has been in office only because of her father’s name, and an entirely corrupt democratic party in Louisiana (as well as other places). If she has any accomplishments for her constituents or anyone else, they have been well hidden. The sooner she and others of her ilk or out of office, the better.

    • Arkeygeezer

      Yeah, but she sure loves that Keystone pipeline right now! Maybe she can do one good thing, and get Congress to force “the Kingfish” Obama to approve it.

    • Corlyss

      Probably, but Louisiana politics is still Louisiana politics.

    • rheddles

      I don’t see a dead boy or live girl in her bedroom.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The lower oil goes in price, the less attractive the Keystone project appears. There is always the possibility that the thing will finally get politically approved just in time for the investors to have second thoughts.

    • Josephbleau

      Dream, dream, dreeem dreeem, dream dream, dreeem. Old love song. Oil to China out of vancouver

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