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. Clint H

    Considering Obama has been Pro OIL, it will pass after the elections. Watch it happen.

    May 12, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. Mark

    Not like democrats created any jobs yet why start now

    May 12, 2014 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    This is ridiculous! They should be locked in a room until they fix the country, then they can come out and campaign. They work for the people, we should decide what they do. They have had time to educate themselves on the pipeline. Enough!

    May 12, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Bobloblaw

    Canada should build a pipeline to the pacific. Then one day when the US needs Canada's vote at the UN. Canada should vote against the US and embarrass they arrogant yanks.

    May 12, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. Skeptic

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

    Right, because she, and she alone, had the power to get the it passed. Just how dumb do the Republicans think people are?

    Come to think of it, it is indeed hard to underestimate the intelligence of the American electorate.

    May 12, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. Cyprustree

    Good deal! This project is simply a disaster waiting to happen, NAFTA on steroids. Every tine another one of these "Free Trade" deals goes through, it ends up costing American jobs. I really don't care WHY it failed in the Senate, just flag that it did. One ray of sunshine.

    May 12, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. joe d.

    the xl pipeline needs to be passed , i am a democrat from boston, but i agree with our enemy mr. john bonner its just an other pipe line and look and see there are a lot of pipe lines in our country. but one thing i like is that all the oil should not be turned into gasoline and exported to china or europe it should be deemed a national commodity and controlled by our government (our government does work) and none of this oil or gas or fuel should ever be exported under any condition at war and at peace. wake up or the republicans are going to sell us out to china and canada !

    May 12, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. McBob79

    Hmmm...more jobs and cheap gas down the tubes. All because of the environmental special interests.

    May 12, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Mongoose

    No amendments allowed? That sounds like Harry's boss Obama, my way or the highway.
    So who is the obstructionist now Harry?

    May 12, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Good, Keystone should never see the light of day. Of course, the GOP scum will hold important bills hostage if they don't get their way.

    May 12, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  11. Lumpy Rutherford

    @Chris-E...al
    He likes a a good car rear . And i love my job good luck to him its not hate its just unhealthy for mankind and our kids and him now good luck pro ?

    Please explain something to us. You post every day and the things you post make no sense whatsoever. Are you from a third world country that doesn't value education? Are you dyslexic? Are you insane? Are you pulling some long running gag on the rest of us? Please explain, but in words we can relate to. Thanks!

    May 12, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. George Hayduke

    Good!!!. This pipeline would be another travesty on the American landscape and do irreparable damage to the environment. The Citizens of this country need to wake up before politicians and big business pull one over on us and get this built. Call, write or visit your local U.S. rep and DEMAND they vote against the building of the XL Pipeline. What quality of air and water do you want your grandchildren to have when they are your age? Screw energy non-dependence. Stop letting our land get overgrazed and poisoned. Stop letting our rivers get dammed. Stop the poisoning of our wildlife and air. Live with less, drive less, become Vegetarian and live longer with a healthier future for generations to come.

    May 12, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. carl nelson

    It appears everyone is much more interested in the news that two men kissed each other. We are doomed.

    May 12, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. rvoter

    The Union guys are going to love the Dems for this.

    May 12, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. macmor180

    so when the time comes, and it will, that the US is looking for Canada's water I hope that we can delay approvals endlessly while the US dries out... that way we can avoiding having the US drink Canada dry....

    May 12, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Dennis

    Keystone XL pipeline,Benghazi...Get a life people.Why work with the GOP when they refuse to work with Democrats?

    May 12, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  17. WillyNilly

    If Keystone can be delayed, eventually there will be irrefutable evidence of how hazardous it is to the land it crosses. As each day passes more weaknesses pop up (leak out) in existing pipelines and soon even the willfully blind should be able to figure it out. Deny Keystone soon and decisively.

    May 12, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  18. Gt

    Ole Mary didn't have much power being chair of energy ....why keep her.

    May 12, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. GODZILLA1

    KILL the stupid Keystone pipeline – it only benefits big oil!

    May 12, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Liz the First

    On the day when we get news that the western Antarctic ice shelf is indeed collapsing, we should hear that this abomination of a project is dead. we need to start facing the truth about what we're doing to our home and start changing our ways so our kids and grandkids will have some sort of livable planet. and we need to stop listening to the idiots who still have their heads in the sand, hoping against hope that science is wrong and fantasy is truth. time to get real, people!

    May 12, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. Keith Long

    Harry Reid is digging himself into a hole he's going to find it difficult to extricate himself from. Every poll shows that the American people are heavily in favor of the Keystone Pipeline.

    May 12, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. RayJacksonMS

    Good. There is no way foreigners should be allowed to seize Americans' land through eminent domain. We also don't want foreigners pushing their toxic sludge through our nation so China can benefit.

    May 12, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. Chuckt

    So funny they would rather the oil go to China by ship and train. No guarantee's on anything working correct, but at least we can try to do the pipeline right. Either way your taking a chance with global impact on possible pollution leaks by train and ship. No common since on a any of this and just concerned with votes. Wow, Washington is a mess!

    May 12, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. R Long

    The Obama administration is reviewing NOTHING. They are pandering to a very small minority of environmental activists. Pipeline technology has advanced 70 YEARS and we use it EVERYWHERE in the US. ITs a ridiculous argument that fails completely. Obama is going to let Canadian oil go to China, why? BECAUSE HE HATES AMERICA!!!!

    May 12, 2014 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  25. Kat

    Why do these articles ignore that the pipeline currently doesn't have legal authorization to be built along its entire path? Until the legal challenges are given time the work through, this is pointless.

    May 12, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
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