Senate Keystone vote expected to be close; Obama lobbying Democrats
March 8th, 2012
12:13 PM ET
2 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. Mike

    It's quiet simple. My partener's mom and dad and family all live and drink the water out by where this proposed pipeline is going. After witnessing the leaks with our own eyes of the current pipeline, I'd like my in-laws and their family to be able to drink clean fresh drinking water from their area instead of having to ship it in after leaks pollute the area. The cost and risks outweighs the benefit for those in the area....

    March 8, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Bob

    Us folks in Canada want the US to defeat it. Quickly. China is going to pay much more money. Plus, your old and outdated refiniries that have little capacity will not be able to keep up. You folks in the US are making sure other countries in the world have great opportunities. We appreciaye that as our economy is better than yours and China is indeed the future world power.

    March 8, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. noel

    yet again, our president proves he's anti-energy and such an ideologue that he'll cut off his nose to spite his face and, in the end, make fuel prices rise even further in the long run. please folks, come to your senses on this manchurian president, he's anti everything america stands for as a whole!!! OBAMANOS!!!

    March 8, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Independent in NC

    To PM Ohio, thank you for your intelligent response.

    March 8, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Mike

    Agree 100% that this pipeline will not reduce the price of gas at the pump for any of us. The oil collected will go directly in to the market where we get to compete for it just like everyone else. Where is the benefit to us? Oh Yeah! The oil companies will make more record profits.. but will we see any benefits. NOPE!

    March 8, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Mike In Carolina

    If it wasn't for misinformation, the GOP would have nothng to say. Obama is delaying the pipeline pending a thorough review of the environmental impact. That is wise. To say that he opposes it is an outright lie. The President has never said he is against Keystone. Only the GOP says that he opposes it. Obama is articulate enough to speak for himself and doesn't need others to speak on his behalf

    March 8, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Robert Cheek

    The sad thing is they are destroying the Boreal Forest and no one seems to care.

    March 8, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Reg in Vancouver

    C'mon Americans – continue to vote this down! We want the pipeline to stay up here and boost our already buffed economy. You guys have plenty of oil.

    March 8, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. NickAnast

    The environmental disaster that this pipeline would create is not worth the 6,000 jobs (TransCanada's own number) that would be created. And the fantasy that the pipeline would lower gas prices overnight is being spun by ignorant know-nothings who simply are too greedy to care about anyone else.

    This needs to be defeated. Real Senators vote NO.

    March 8, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Horus

    12 Leaks in 14 months. Trans's origninal plan was to go west across Canada to Pacific ports. Canadians rejected that, for good reason. Is America really this stupid?

    March 8, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. steven harnack

    Why are people so quick to embrace a Canadian Company who's own countrymen have emphatically rejected? Canadians refuse to allow this boondogle to pollute their country so, like some desperate third world country, we should invite them to trash our land so a handful of foreigners can increase their wealth? That oil is destined for the world market and the highest bidder. Whether the highest bidder is us or China it will not certainly NOT lower the price.

    March 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. ted

    Keystone is a very bad idea! It will not benifit the U.S. one bit.

    March 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Yu-yo

    I hope the Democrats go against Obama arrogance of always getting what he wants and vote for the XL Pipeline. Ignoring Obama arm twist threats to do the right thing for once.

    March 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Scott

    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.

    No. That is so wrong. The makers of the pipeline themselves stated that the number of permanent jobs for Americans would be in the hundreds. Second, this would NOT lower gas prices. As the democrats are saying now, and FOX News stated 3 years ago, "gas prices are not affected by the President or his policies, but are fixed on the global market." Do some research please, thank you.

    March 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Patriot and American

    This pipeline is a complete disconnect from what's real with gas prices, gas availability and gas consumption. Philadelphia, which has one of the largest concentrations of oil refineries in the nation has at least two major refineries CLOSING because there is NO NEED for them. The oil companies who "want" this pipeline are laying off thousands from Philadelphia regional refineries. The same thing is happening in Texas and LA. The pipeline is a farce, a boondoggle, much like Sarah Palin's bridge to nowhere and the neighboring airport to nowhere. President Obama's objection is VERY REAL and the "average" *read: stupid) American has no factual understanding of this project. Just the same old partisan bla bla bla on FAUX NEWS.

    March 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. chill

    Somebody ought to explain the free market to Boehner. That oil, once refined, is going to the highest bidder. And that well could be China.

    March 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Dante

    "By personally lobbying against the Keystone pipeline, it means the President of the United States is lobbying for sending North American energy to China....." Where do you think the Keystone-transported energy would be going Mr. Boehner?

    March 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. TDuffy in Florida

    I support President Obama on this issue and ask the wavering Democratic Senators to do so also.

    March 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. demwit

    Help me out here.., per Obama logic, producing oil and/or not producing oil has no effect on gas prices??
    I'm so confused.

    March 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. ethandy

    There may MAY be a short burst of job activity that MAY have an effect on the economy in the very short term. This has to balanced with the FACT that, by moving ahead in it's current incomplete state of study and development, the long-term environmental consequences could be disasterous. No oil, no jobs, are worth sacrificing the quality of our air and water for eons. Given that big oil is strong-arming all the republicans for oil, it only makes sense for the President to "strong-arm" the Dems in the senate to safeguard the future of our environment, since no one else is thinking about it.

    March 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    Right noel, its anti-American to make sure something goes through the proper review process, rather than politicising it by ramming it through without a review. More jobs will be generated by doing it right than will be by pushing it through prematurely, unless you own an environmental/ hazmat cleanup crew.

    March 8, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. George

    Anyone who buys that this pipeline will appreciably drop oil prices is nuts. The oil will simply pass through our country on its way to anyone willing to pay the highest price. Will there be some job creation yes through the pipeline construction but these jobs will be only a drop in the bucket and its is most likely the real job growth will be in cleaning up the mess it creates which will be funded by states and the federal government. Severl years ago companies lobbied hard to the Bush administration to build natural gas import facilities along the Guld coast. They sold it as the answer to national energy independence. Guess what these facilities are now being used to export our natural gas to the highest bidder. Meanwhile the big oil companies just get fatter.

    March 8, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Carl

    Once again you have stupid people thinking that this pipeline will solve our immediate problems. We need energy! Yes? But at what cost is the question!? Should it be at the cost of politics? At the cost of our environment? Hell NO! To save a few pennies at the pump! No! At the cost at keeping us lazy and not promoting and developing alternative energy resources! NO! NO! NO! I am with the Our President on this one! Besides, it will be years before you will see the benefits of the pipeline. By then gas will be $7 or more per-gallon. I just wish those people would hurry up and get the solution to sustaining 1,000,000 degree fusion reactors already.....They taking too long...

    March 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Richard Parrilla

    Digging up Mexican oil for Canadian consumption as it bypasses through our heartland and we don't see an ounce of it...these oil barons must think we're that crunchy. Time to build those better water filters for the fracking we'll need to do for natural gas and get those solar panels churning no matter how many Chinese children coincidentally lose their lives. American children are choking, and oil and coal are why. Time for something else.

    March 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Because the oil companies have the best American interests at their hearts....

    ...one word...

    ...VETO

    March 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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