Senate Keystone vote expected to be close; Obama lobbying Democrats
March 8th, 2012
12:13 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate Keystone vote expected to be close; Obama lobbying Democrats

Washington (CNN) - A razor close vote is expected in the Senate Thursday on a Republican amendment to bypass the Obama administration's objections and approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Senate aides from both parties told CNN. Democratic aides, however, expressed some optimism the provision would be defeated.

President Obama lobbied wavering Democrats by phone to shore up Democratic support for his position, a senior Democratic source told CNN. It could be embarrassing for the White House if a large number of Democrats voted to overturn the administration's Keystone policy, which has been hotly debated as gas prices continue to rise during this election year. Several Democrats, including moderates up for re-election and those from oil producing states, support the Keystone pipeline but are torn whether to split with the president.

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Congressional Republicans blasted the president for twisting arms of fellow Democrats.

"By personally lobbying against the Keystone pipeline, it means the President of the United States is lobbying for sending North American energy to China and lobbying against American jobs," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference.

To make matters more difficult for the administration, Democratic aides said reports last week that former President Bill Clinton came out in favor of building the pipeline are making it harder for Democratic senators to oppose it.

The measure needs 60 votes to pass which means, with Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois out sick, Republicans will need to pick up 14 Democratic votes for the amendment to pass.

A vote is expected sometime after 4 p.m.

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Filed under: Congress • Energy • President Obama
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. dean

    To make matters more difficult for the administration?????????????? They work for US!

    Why is the white house hell bent on making matters more difficult for the people?

    March 8, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Chris

    This is sickening. Why is Obama trying so hard to stop this pipeline? He is lobbying the Senate to get it his way. His job is to enforce and execute the laws, not make them. If he wanted to continue to make the laws, he should've stayed in the senate.

    March 8, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. john

    This is a real black eye for the president. The media must now call it clear that he absolutely opposes the pipeline. After workarounds in planned routes, years of analysis and studies the major concerns have been addressed. The president is against further oil production and resistant to use of oil and gas from us and our neighbors. and quasi-socialist Canada, believes it is a good idea and the president doesn't? There needs to be criticism of the president on this one. He is not employing an all of the above approach. We are sitting on a wealth of natural gas and could make a North American alliance and say goodbye to OPEC oil.

    March 8, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. PM Ohio

    The Keystone XL pipeline would not do anything to reduce gas prices in the US. 1st of all, it would take years to build. 2nd, the oil isn't going to even be sold to US gas companies. Ask the Canadians why they can't just have the pipeline go through thier country to the Pacific? It would be a shorter route and be more accessable for the Chinese tankers which will be taking the oil to China anyway. Most of the clear thinking peole in the US realize that a spill would be disaterous for the aquifers in the Central US. We need more refineries, not a pipeline to bring dirty Canadian oil through the US for delivery to other countries.

    March 8, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    DC Johnny wrote:

    Every positive announcement regarding energy production – much of which has been announced by Obama himself – was the direct result of Bush leases and the success of private land production.
    If oil companies are doing well, doesn't that mean that you are doing well, too?

    I suggest that you read up on the long multi-year debate and approval battles on the Alaska pipeline, which was built mostly during the Carter administration. A time period that saw record rises in the price of crude oil. It quadrupled, and which ultimately doomed the Carter administration's reputation as ineffectual.

    Can you imagine the impact of a quadrupled price would be if that were to occur now? We will see the same thing all over again as this pipeline gets built.

    March 8, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. JOHN

    PR- When your kids or grand kids can't enjoy the spender of this earth you can truly say YOU help destroy it. And it did not create jobs here in the United States

    March 8, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Shari

    A vote for Keystone will make the Kochs richer.

    March 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. john

    Put it to a vote of the people. This would pass. The title of the article needs to be "Obama lobbying against Keystone pipeline". He is ignoring the wealth of oil and natural gas in North America. While we work on alternative energies, we can be independent from OPEC by forming alliances with Canada and using our own oil & natural gas resources. We are sitting on enough natural gas to power the entire country and then some.

    March 8, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Emmy Skaddittle

    please let create this environmental disaster to move another countries oil across our country so it can be refined and shipped to china

    March 8, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. John

    PM Ohio we can't build a refinery thanks to the Presidents alliance with the EPA.

    March 8, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. JOHN

    dean- How do come up with that assessment? If anything its the mission of the republicans to destroy the U.S. and blame it on President Obama

    March 8, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Helen

    First he was against it and now he's for it?!?!?
    Must be an election year....

    March 8, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Listen to reason

    Lots of misinformed posters. The pipeline lowers gas prices and creates US jobs. Obama stated in 2008 that "gas prices would necessarily skyrocket". Propping up "alternative fuels" will not help the economy or increase real energy. Alt fuels has to become a viable business on it's own.

    March 8, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. V in Chicago

    To Democratic Senators – Please vote NO! We are tired of being played by the Republicans and their rich oil industry backers. If Boehner is so sure this is a good idea, then ask him if he and his family are willing to move to the land adjacent to the pipeline. I bet the answer (if he would give one) would be no.

    This oil is NOT going to help the US with gas prices and the jobs they talk about are at best temporary and will not be near the numbers the Republican's would have you believe. This is just another accident waiting to happen and trust me, the environmental damage will surpass anything we've seen to date. This is a no-brainer, if you care one bit for the land on which we live.

    March 8, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. JAB62

    If this gets built the oil will go overseas for more profits and it will leak on the way through, guaranteed. They all leak eventually just like the tankers and deep sea wells. Nothing is infallible especially human engineering. The republicans are experiencing group think on this one. The hubris is thick.

    March 8, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Ron in Asheville, NC

    It's complicated. First of all, Boehner is dead wrong when he says Obama is "lobbying to send North American energy to China." And the "China" reference is an unworthy scare tactic. That energy is earmarked for export by its owners, namely Canada. There's nothing Obama–or Boehner–can do about that. It's part of Canadian energy policy, not US energy policy. As for jobs, by all accounts they would be few and short-term. It has been suggested (I have no way of knowing about the math) that it would be better US energy policy for the government to invest money in alternative fuel development and hire the equivalent number of workers for that project.

    March 8, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Jerry

    Now more than ever, we need for my fellow Democrats to sprout some "bolas" on the XL Pipeline and other important issues. Gas prices are going through the roof, and even though the XL Pipeline may not the complete solution, it will definitely help.

    It's also about time we Democrats put our country first and not allow the president to continue making economic decisions that make absolutely NO SENSE and are not supported by most of the American populace!

    My fellow Democrats. YOU ARE ON NOTICE!!!

    March 8, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. JOHN

    Chris- Who would the Pipeline benefit? Canadian, and the investors. Its will not create the amount of jobs republicans are claiming.That why republicans can't give a number on how many jobs would come from it

    March 8, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. jrcomo35713

    Do you reallt think that "all: of that oil is going to China? Secondly, do you honestly think that no jobs will be created when they pass through the states. Then we get the following message: By personally lobbying against the Keystone pipeline, it means the President of the United States is lobbying for sending North American energy to China and lobbying against American jobs," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference. You holler to hell that you want this project and mad because the President initially turned it down and now you make this type of statement. How dumb a republican and how hateful and disrespectful for the common good of the country.

    March 8, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. WetWhiteNorth

    Regardless if the project continues or not it will NOT impact the price of petrol at the pumps. The cost of oil is predetermined by OPEC therefore we could not sell it to you at a discount which you would end up seeing at the pumps. We can't even get our oil at a cheaper price and to add insult to this we, Canada, buy half the oil we use from outside sources even if our domestic supply is enough to cover our demands! So know one thing, regardless of what country you live in, there are always moronic politicians making decisions contrary to the best interests of their own country!!!

    March 8, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. A Kickin` Donkey

    It is not in our interests to produce oil [or support it in any way] that is destined to be used by our economic competitor CHINA. The relatively few pollutiong jobs from this pipeline pales in comparrison to the STEROID shot Canadian oil sands-derived petroleum will give a far east competitor which does not play fair.

    It is revealing that Keystone proponents would spin this as a jobs issue . . . it is but not in the simplistic way the GOP is suggesting.

    America has a differential advantage over China on the production/ consumption of energy. We should use it.

    March 8, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. moderate dem

    Sorry Obama, I trust both Clintons more. Build the pipeline, regulate for safety, create jobs.

    March 8, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Tom

    Why does everyone think the Keystone pipeline will be our saving grace? We are talking about a Canadian company using Canadian workers to sell the US high priced (+$100/bl) Canadian sand oil. Far as I can see profit is Canadian.

    March 8, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Horus

    Trans's own stated goal to shareholders is to increase their profit per barrel by $3. They plan to do this by reaching the global market rather than the local US market like they do now; which by the way keeps prices lower in the mid north west. So would some genius in favor of this please explain to me how this would possibly lower the price of gasoline in the US. Please explain this based on the reality that oil is a global commodity and that the US exports refined gasoline currently, so the whole "more supply" argument doesn't hold up.

    March 8, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    The Obama administration's objections and resistance to the bypassing the approval process comes at the behest of the request from Nebraska's Republican governer and state legislature.

    March 8, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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