Effort to approve Keystone collapses in Senate
May 12th, 2014
06:42 PM ET
6 years ago

Effort to approve Keystone collapses in Senate

(CNN) - A bipartisan Senate effort to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline collapsed Monday making it unlikely a politically potent vote on the project will take place before November’s midterm election.

A vote on Keystone was tied to the fate of an unrelated energy efficiency bill that has support in both parties. But that measure failed to get the 60 votes it needed to move forward after getting bogged down in partisan fighting over whether GOP amendments would be allowed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had warned he would only allow a vote on the separate Keystone bill if the energy efficiency legislation was cleared.

“There is bipartisan support for the underlying bill but there is an insistence to have votes and a real debate on energy policy,” Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican, said.

Democratic leaders countered they had already made a major concession by agreeing to a vote on Keystone - a project opposed by many environmentalists and most Senate Democrats - and they did not want to agree to additional politically difficult votes on environmental and energy issues that divide their caucus.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who opposes Keystone, said he had agreed to allow a vote on a bill to approve Keystone in exchange for GOP votes to clear the energy efficiency bill, which is co-authored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. He balked when Republicans insisted on additional amendments to the energy efficiency bill, such as one to curb new EPA regulations of coal-fired electrical plants.

“Democrats have acted in good faith,” Reid said. “We’ve bent over backwards to make this bill work.”

Reid’s decision may hurt moderate Senate Democrats such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska who are up for re-election this fall in red states and who support Keystone. For instance, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who chairs the energy committee, has made passing Keystone a top legislative and political priority as she runs for a third term in a state that is heavily dependent on the energy industry for jobs.

Republicans were quick to highlight Landrieu’s inability in getting Keystone passed.

When Democratic leaders said they would schedule a vote on Keystone they did so knowing a bill ultimately would probably fail, but they still hoped that holding the vote would be helpful to their vulnerable Democrats facing re-election. Three of 17 Democrats who had supported a non-binding vote on the issue a year ago said they would not vote for it in the current form, all but assuring it could not get the 60 votes needed to succeed.

The Obama administration is currently reviewing the environmental impact of the pipeline, which runs from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. But a final decision is not expected until after the midterm elections.

Filed under: Keystone XL • Senate
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. jm Minnesota

    Die Keystone pipeline DIE! America does not need Canada's junk oil traveling through the heartland of America and the largest aquifer in the US that stretches through the middle of the "bread basket" of the US for the profit of big oil especially the KOCH brothers who are in the process of trying to buy the United States of America from the top (Congress, US House, SCOTUS & President) to school boards in small town USA!

    May 12, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. steve696

    "Effort to approve Keystone collapses in Senate" Just as I thought. The Democrats want to continue to marginalize Republicans and then cry about having only five seats on the Select Committee in the House. Transparent hypocrisy. The simply don't care about the environment, just keeping Republicans out.

    May 12, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Keystone pipeline only good for Canada.
    A spill the size of Horizon of worsened destroy our land.

    May 12, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. sonnie3

    78% of America wants and need the pipeline/ but Hussein obama is against it so the democrats make sure that his wish Is upheld/ Go Figure?

    May 12, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    Just to clear something up here: Bills do NOT need 60 votes to pass the Senate. They only need 60 votes to not be filibustered by the Senate minority. This is the second time in a week that common sense legislation has died in the Senate because one party refuses to budge on ANYTHING without threatening filibuster if they don't like it.

    For a party that spends a lot of time and hot air talking about what the founding fathers intended, they seem to be completely ok with circumventing what those same founding fathers meant when they wrote the rules for passing a bill.

    May 12, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. Peter Kay

    Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet, I can understand why Canada wants to ship it to Texas to refine.
    Sorry, Canada is no friend of ours. If it's so profitable and such a good thing, why not keep it in Canada and refine it yourself?

    May 12, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. jinx9to88

    Why should the Dems give the Repubs Keystone pipeline when the Repubs have not given the Dems nothing but "NO"?

    May 12, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Scott

    Democrats do it again! Way to go guys STOP the green house gas generating pipeline!

    May 12, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. John Q

    Try to meet a Republican half way and they get greedy,
    How completely expected
    After complaining forever about Keystone, they now want to make it about the EPA and relaxing coal regulations
    I guess it was never about Keystone, just about more obstruction and complaining about Keystone in the future

    May 12, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Yakobi

    Man, I can't wait until Harry Reid is ousted from his leadership position. Perhaps something in Congress will actually get done then.

    May 12, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. Dirk

    Thank Goodness for this reprieve. Sometimes I think my party hates the land.

    May 12, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. Dr veruju

    Very Good. That pipeline is a complete wast of valuable resources that the country could use for clean energy.

    May 12, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Yakobi

    It should be pretty obvious to any objective person that the democrat party is wholly controlled by rich liberal donors with their own wacky agendas. Otherwise, this pipeline (which is far safer than transporting oil by rail) would have been cleared a long time ago.

    May 12, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. Richard

    Good, can we forget about this scam now?

    May 12, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Ann Smith

    The only ones that will benefit economically from the Keystone XL boondoggle are the 1%, as the Ogallala Aquifer, farmers, and this out-dated technology destroy our beautiful country and spur on climate change through massive pollution, carbon dioxide and water vapor additions. The reason northern European countries are 25 years ahead of us with green technology (which creates millions of jobs by the way, not a few thousand at best for Keystone XL during construction and 500 permanent jobs) is because they know fossil fuels are ephemeral, contribute significantly to climate change, and support strong environmental laws which force producers of such technology to pay a heavy economic price.

    We have the largest wind farms in the world, right here, in this country (CA,TX) – nowhere else. Do not fall for this avaricious and stagnant thinking when we have green solutions that are much cleaner at our disposal. These dirty fossil fuels should be laid to rest along with the parsimonious dimwits that support their continued extraction. Renewable technology should be the go-to today, especially in the face of such dire climate consequences.

    May 12, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Brineybones

    In other words, Senate Democrats put politics ahead of the economy AGAIN.

    May 12, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. Farrok

    This pipeline is a rich man's dream and a poisonous serpent for anyone who's land the pipeline pass through. This purposed pipeline is dangerous and everyone knows it. Plus, even if the pipeline were built the oil would be refined and sold on the World Market. Talk about the dirty end of the stick? This pipeline is a complete sucker bet for the American Taxpayer.

    May 12, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. polite centrist

    The Keystone pipeline will allow the oil companies to easily move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico so they can sell it overseas for a greater profit. We should allow the oil companies to build it themselves at their own expense. After all, the only problem would be if it broke and millions of gallons of crude oil were spilled on our farmland. Remember the millions and millions of gallons of crude oil polluting the Gulf of Mexico that we taxpayers had to pay to clean up?

    May 12, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. tarura

    Activist Reid again and again supports BHO agenda, this time effectively suppressing Keystone

    May 12, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Patrick

    Wow..the only reason the Democrats decided not to vote on this horrible pipeline was they didn't get their ransom. Folks this is why there is absolutely no difference between parties as they are all corrupt and care nothing for you, your children or the future of this planet. This pipeline will only create 45 permanent jobs but is estimated to do over $128 billion dollars in damage to the environment. Wake up America!

    May 12, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. Jamal

    What a surprise!!! Another important promise, made by our President, and now it has to wait till after the mid terms. Gee, I'm SO STUNNED..... I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT COULD HAPPEN !!

    May 12, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. stopterror

    Look like dems in support fascist Putin to supply us oil by sea

    May 12, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Capekaren

    By all means, let us pass the Keystone XL pipeline so that the USA can suffer environmental damage ad infinitum and send the product overseas so the Canadians can make money, and we will create a few permanent jobs checking the line for leaks.. Oh, I forgot the jobs created cleaning up the environmental damage. Anything wrong with this picture? How does this make us energy independent if it all goes overseas ,which it will?

    May 12, 2014 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. J Anthony

    Politicians do not solve problems anymore. They play power-games and rarely if ever tell the truth. People need to unite and collectively disengage from this self-destructive system and start anew.

    May 12, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. bozodaclown

    Maybe if they added to the bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 and hour immediately, it would have passed.

    May 12, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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