Senate Keystone vote expected to be close; Obama lobbying Democrats
March 8th, 2012
12:13 PM ET
3 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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Obama releases movie trailer a week before campaign film's debut

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

    "Mike in Carolina" the Gop really does not care what the hell this will do to the environment. Just another lame tactic to make our President look bad. It's just making their rich friends richer.

    March 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. JOHN

    This high price gas have been around since the seventy and its have not been fixed.Change is not bad, changed does not destroy the fabric of our society it make its stronger. If the people on this messaging broad think its going to get better under the a republican president is so wrong. I do not understand why some white male assume following the advice and guided of this man is so wrong. The President had to fight the very first day he was sworn in and he still fighting to help all the people not some of the people like republican is try to put us against one another. This my last time I will visited this WEB site because its too much hated toward the President or with anyone who would like to see the United State be great and help put our people back to work

    March 8, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    How long GOP wants to use Band-Aid for every problem we face ,

    March 8, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Brian

    Build the pipeline!! Following the economics of supply/demand...the more supply, the lower the price will be. Additionally it will be less dependence on middle-eastern oil. common sense. I don't understand why Obama doesn't want to do it.

    Also, am I wrong in my understanding that these "green energy" electric cars are charged using electricity, which is created via burning coal? Which is cleaner? coal or gas?

    March 8, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. dennis dehart

    We have very little to gain and much to lose if we build this pipeline. We won't get any of the oil (unless we pay more than China will pay for it) and a whole lot of enviromental damage that we will be stuck with. Oil companies are lobbying Republicans every day to make this pipeline happen and would sell out to them in a minuet for some money in their re-election coffers.

    March 8, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Ralph

    Why on earth this oil can not be transported from Canada in the old fashion way?

    March 8, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Jeff

    "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."

    Is there anything more un-American than this? Representatives possibly not voting for the best interests of those they represent out of fear of retrobution from the political party to which they are affiliated?

    Is this really what anyone, left or right, believes our Founding Fathers desired? Was this how they invisioned our government working?

    March 8, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. GoldenGod

    I think the it makes more sense to build a refinery up north on the US side of the border instead of a giant pipeline. It would take the wind out of Obama's argument against it. The other thing we need to do is open more leases for exploration with conditions that a percentage of an oil harvested from Federal government owned land be sold to the US government at a fixed and reduced rate and retained in the Strategic Oil reserve to provide a risk mitigation against instability in the Middle East.

    March 8, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    "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."
    --------
    Whoa. Let me get this straight. You actually believe that building this pipeline will have a DIRECT cause-and-effect on the price of crude oil, the cause being the pipeline itself and that effect is INCREASED price?

    Is that really what you're trying to sell Rudy?

    March 8, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. DF

    "dirty Canadian oil"?? The US gets most of their electricity from coal burning – way more dirty than anything Canada produces. The bottom line is Americans love oil, and they don't have enough of their own. So suck it up USA and build the pipeline to continue driving your hummers, or try taking the bus!! LOL!!

    March 8, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. GI Joe.

    ACTUAL U.S.JOBS:
    The job estimate is based on a poorly documented and unsubstantiated study commissioned by the oil company itself, referred to as the Perryman Group study. The study inflates the job estimate by calculating jobs on a yearly basis, not the total number created as a result of the pipeline. For instance, employing 10,000 people for two years would equal 20,000 jobs by the company's count. Additionally, the estimate includes non-U.S. jobs created in Canada, "where about a third of the $7 billion pipeline would be constructed."

    The oil company's 20,000 job estimate is inconsistent with government and academic studies. The State Department, the lead federal agency on the pipeline project, estimates that the project would bring 5,000 to 6,000 temporary construction jobs. An independent assessment by Cornell University's Global Labor Institute found that the Keystone XL would create between 2,500-4,650 temporary positions for two years, with only about 50 new permanent pipeline jobs in the United States.

    March 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "What we really need to ask ourselves, what reason would the President have for lobbying against this? What is a valid reason to not build it??? Does he think it's bad for the people of America, or for himself?"

    ______________________________

    Why don't you reverse that and ask why the Repubs are pushing so hard for it? Will it line their pockets and their oil buddies' pockets? If they want jobs so badly then why not pass the infrastructure bill which would create many jobs througout the country since there are so many bridges, roads, etc that are in desperate need of repair. This pipeline will not bring down gas prices – that is just rhetoric. However, repairing & building our infrastructure will be a major benefit.

    March 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Jeff

    Would it be possible for our politicians to do things not based on whether it will be "embarassing to the administration" or not?

    FFS, this country's government is borked...

    It's time for people in Washington to stop doing things because it will look good or bad for their "party", but for the people they represent.

    March 8, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. geg

    stop exporting oil when the price at the pump goes over 2 80 a gallon .the canadian oil is for export only

    March 8, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. nrog

    Even if gas prices go up a dollar, the net annual impact on the average driver would be about the same as buying an iPad. That shouldn't even be part of the equation on deciding the pipeline issue, particularly since the pipeline would have zero impact on gas prices.

    March 8, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    "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.
    -------------–
    This is how Republicans mislead people. Building the pipeline is not going to change how much petroleum products China buys on the world market. It is not going to change where the Chinese buy it, either. Pipeline, or no pipeline, the Chinese will continue to buy as much from North America as they always have.

    Besides, Boehner is reinforcing the point I always make about how the pipeline would raise the price of the products, which are currently sold at a discount because of increased transportation costs associated with tankers sailing around South America. Both China and the US buy it at the discounted rates. The pipeline would eliminate the need to discount it.

    March 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Louis in Wisc.

    We should build a new up to date refinery right in the middle of the country not near the oceans so we won't just refine it and send it out of country to the highest bidder so the oil companies cna yet again make record profits....here's an idea the government should build the refinery and sell the gas for a dime over cost that not only boost the economy but pay off the debt at the same time...

    March 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Brian

    Build the pipeline... any environmentalist that thinks refineries in China are better for the environment is delusional. Also transporting by pipeline is about 1000 times safer than tankers. Get beyond the issue of whether the oil should be used... that is pointless, because it will be. The only question is where is it going to be used.

    March 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Nicole

    @Brian

    If suppy/demand were all that was needed to reduce gas prices, why is it that we are refining more fuel than we are consuming as a nation, and are currently a net exporter of refined oil products, including gas?!? We are exporting fuel in order to keep prices high... that is not Pres. Obama's fault, it is the oil companies and their shareholders. Call it capitalism at its worst. Besides, building the pipeline will divert oil from the refineries in the Midwest (which refine oil for domestic consumption) and divert it to the refineries in the Gulf (of which approx. 90% refine oil for export), therefore, prices here domestically, esp. in the Midwest will RISE even further. Get your facts straight people... stop listening to the pundits and do your own independant research.

    March 8, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    So, the road to energy independence hinges on building a pipleine that will send most of its finished product to our greatest economic rival, while we are stuck with the environemental and health costs from the refining process?

    March 8, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. FLIndependent

    "What we really need to ask ourselves, what reason would the President have for lobbying against this? What is a valid reason to not build it??? Does he think it's bad for the people of America, or for himself?"
    __________________________________
    Why not ask why the Repubs are pushing for this pipeline? Is it to pad their pockets and their oil buddies' pockets? This pipeline will not bring down gas prices – to say it will is not living in the real world. Also, if they are so concerned about creating jobs then why not pass the infrastructure bill which would be a much bigger benefit to the entire country than this pipeline. Repairing & building bridges, roads, etc. would create thousands of jobs and there is plenty of work to last for years!

    March 8, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. PR

    Build it and when it doesn't produce the thousands of jobs promised or doesn't lower the price of gas by .01 cent or causes a leak or spill you can then all blame the president in 2015 (Who will probably be Obama anyway) because you know that's what you'll do. Blame him for not standing for American jobs now or blame him later for allowing this bogus pipeline to be built.

    March 8, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. babooph

    "Lobbying" -do you mean he is giving them millions of bribe $$$ to take our tax $$ for himself?Or do you use the term for something other than legal corruption...?

    March 8, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. rick1948

    The pipeline doesn't do anything for the United States except create the potential for a spill. The oil is from Canada, benefiting rich oil companies. There will be some temporary jobs created in the United States while it is being built, but since the owners are Canadian, there's no guarantee that they won't send Canadian workers here even for those temporary jobs. After the pipeline is built, the temporary jobs are gone. And, speaking of gone, where is the oil going? To the US – nope – overseas so it can be refined and they sold back to the United States at inflated prices. Nope, there is nothing in this pipeline for Americans.

    March 8, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Yu-yo

    ?Why not ask why the Repubs are pushing for this pipeline? Is it to pad their pockets and their oil buddies' pockets? This pipeline will not bring down gas prices – to say it will is not living in the real world. Also, if they are so concerned about creating jobs then why not pass the infrastructure bill which would be a much bigger benefit to the entire country than this pipeline. Repairing & building bridges, roads, etc. would create thousands of jobs and there is plenty of work to last for years!"

    Please I bet Obama and the liberal finding a way to line up the jobs with union fill pockets and soro relation liberal pockets.

    March 8, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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