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. penguin

    Why do many Republicans consider charging grazing fees to ranchers who utilize federal land (I.e. Taxpayer owned land) government overreach, but forcing landowners to give up their property (compensated but against their will) is not government overreach?

    May 12, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  2. Jerry Okamura

    If the Keystone Pipeline is not built, does it really hurt or does it help the companies who would benefit from the pipeline being built? Won't it eventually be built? What will be the price of oil when it is finally built? Will the price be higher or lower?

    May 12, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. 2kmaro

    This kind of happy horse manure must stop! Bills should stand on their own, not get tied onto something else so that unless both pieces make everyone happy neither has a shot at passing. And every bill should be put to a vote without the ability of a single person to refuse to allow it.
    These actions DO NOT SERVE AMERICA – they serve the political agendas of a very few strongly placed individuals. In this case, Harry Reid has only permitted something less than a dozen Republican instigated bills to even get to the floor in the past year - could there be something political in that? Could any one of those bills that he's refused to permit to come to a vote have done some great (or even small) good for the nation? I don't know since I don't know the content of the bills he, unilaterally and single-handedly, has decided are not "good enough" to get a vote.
    When the House and Senate play a strict party line game, America suffers. Don't these JERKS remember that they were voted into office to Represent the People that voted for them – not sit on their do-nothing-arses and take NOT a stance to support what the people that put faith in them to represent them want, but instead toe the party line?
    YO! House, Senate - you are supposed to be our representatives, leaders of this nation - how about doing some representation for the voters (not your party bosses) and do your job - lead!

    May 12, 2014 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  4. 2BNamedLater

    More politics as usual. If you want to change the country don't bother with the President, that is but one person. Shake up Congress who have the ability to both pass legislation and override it if it is vetoed.

    Vote out ALL incumbents. Term limits for all of Congress. If the president is held to 8 years, a person should not be able to spend 20 – 30 in the Congress.

    May 12, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. 2kmaro

    As far as Obama not making a decision on Keystone until after the mid-terms, isn't that pretty much just as good as admitting he's going to deny it? He just doesn't want people to see the answer before his fellow democrats get some kind of shot at the polls. God, what a putz we have for a president.

    May 12, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Sandvichmancer

    Good, because Washington state voters already turned it down. Unless you plan on routing it through Montana, it's already dead.

    May 12, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  7. Martin369

    Good thing I bought all of that railroad stock

    May 12, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  8. Aerosgrl

    What's the environmental impact if it not refined here and refined in China under less regulation? Regardless if we don't refine it here it will be pulled out of the ground and refined else where.

    May 12, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  9. vj

    GOP = Grand Obstruction party ...

    May 12, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. Roger Stine

    Of course they will delay the vote after mid terms. The DEMS want to keep the seats they stand to lose. Obama is a very cunning and calculating manipulator.

    May 12, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. Jason

    Why don't they use the existing pipeline? The American way: New is better even though the old still works.

    May 12, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  12. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    The Keystone Pipeline as currently routed puts a valuable and irreplaceable resource, the Ogallala Aqufier, (which supplies water to thousands of businesses and millions of residents in five states) at serious risk in the event of a pipeline leak. TransCanada's record of pipeline leak remediation is not good. Tar sands oil is not only toxic due to the oil but also the admix of other chemicals to enable the product to flow through a pipe.

    Canada's First Nation peoples have opposed a similar project, the Northern Gateway pipeline. If their own native people won't let Trans Canada pollute their territory, why should we allow TransCanada to pollute ours?

    The estimates of the jobs and economic benefits the pipeline will bring to the US are vastly overinflated. At best perhaps 3000-4000 transient jobs will be created, only to disappear when construction is done and be replaced by a few hundred permanent jobs. The refined product will not hit the US market but be shipped to Asian customers.

    May 12, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  13. Robert constant

    Shale oil lands in Canada the size of Rhode Island are owned by the Koch Brothers, major Republican Party/ Tea Party contributors who have also spent millions to deny global warming and tax alternative energy out of existence. It is no accident that Republicans favor the Keystone pipeline and environmentalists oppose it .

    May 12, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  14. pyusmc66

    This boondoggle will NOT lead to energy independence, nor will it help the enviroment. Every drop of this filthy oil will be sold to China and only enrich GWB and his oil buddies.

    May 13, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  15. BBunsen

    ".@SenLandrieu can't deliver #KeystoneXL"

    Because, of course, McConnell and Boehner can't deliver shit, but that doesn't matter. Republicans are perceived as ineffective, wonderful. Democrats are perceived as ineffective, vote 'em out!

    May 13, 2014 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  16. militaryvet

    Say "NO" to this pipeline. It will be an accident (or terrorist attack) waiting to happen. The oil is so dirty and hazardous Canada will not allow it to be shipped over its own land by truck, train, or pipeline! The oil will be processed and shipped to China because it is too dirty to be used in the U.S., this will bolster a potential enemy and major world polluter. In additon, the pipeline crosses the Ogallala Auquifer which provides drinking water to 8 states. If their is a leak the water will be poisoned. Just a few gallons of gasoline poisoned the water supply for hundreds of homes in Upper Michigan! The profits will go to a Canadian company and the risk is borne by the citizens of the U.S. Even the Nebraska GOP is against this dangerous project! Common sense dictates that the project be rejected. Let Canada take the risk and ship it over its own land.

    May 13, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. Timothy Babula

    Here we go again politics bogging down progress in america progress vital to our economic future as well our energey independence can't those guys in DC Stop being 12 year olds, long enough to do something of vital to us all as a country!

    May 13, 2014 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  18. 1Joyce

    I didn't for a minute think the Senate would actually vote on the Keystone Pipeline. They need that $100 million offered to Democrats for the next election if they push the clean energy/climate agenda.

    May 13, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  19. davecu

    Once again Harry puts partisan politics ahead of the benefit of the country.

    May 13, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  20. Terry Goldman

    Is all the calculation about the effect on the next election and none on what's best for the country?

    May 13, 2014 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  21. Sid

    As long as James Clapper is running loose Congress has NO CREDIBILITY.

    May 13, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |

    And CNN actually considers this news? REALLY? 100% predictable. News would of been if they passed it.

    CNN = Liberal tabloid.

    May 13, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  23. Thomas

    We need more babies and more oil !

    Drill Baby Drill , Pump Baby Pump , Frack Baby Frack.

    Jobs = Oil = Clean Air and Prosperity , And remember , clean coal will make you dream of a white Christmas , just like the one you used to know.

    Rick Perry / Sarah Palin 2016
    Climate Control works in your car , Your home , why not the whole planet ?
    Smart people with just common sense understanding .

    May 13, 2014 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  24. J.V.Hodgson

    AL show, huff and puff by both sides, to ensure this is delayed until after November, the added bonus for DEMs is it becomes less politically Dynamite to either side in either a good / bad beneficial or not way.. plus will have no need to Veto until after the mid terms re keystone.
    Opposing ideologies get in the way a congress that actually works. 10 % rating Nah 3% if they are lucky.

    May 13, 2014 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  25. Meechee204

    Pretty sad that it takes 7 hours for someone to post a comment on CNN's articles.

    Pass Keystone, enough already.

    May 13, 2014 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
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