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Keystone pipeline bill passes in Senate panel

keystone-oil-pipeline.jpgOn Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a piece of legislation allowing the construction of the Keystone Xl pipeline. The measure was passed with 12 votes for and 10 votes against.

Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) both were notable democrats who voted for the pipeline’s construction. This isn’t surprising, as Landrieu is facing a tough reelection fight this coming fall, and Manchin certainly does not want to anger the voters back in his home state.

The bill is unlikely to make it to the floor of the Senate though. Harry Reid hinted on Tuesday that he would block any Keystone XL legislation that came across his desk.

“This vote seems more like a cheerleading exercise. The obstacle to getting Keystone built is Senator Reid,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)

“There was no popcorn and Coca-Cola handed out today at this meeting, and there were no tickets sold to get in here. This is the United States Senate. This is the energy committee,” said Landrieu in response to Barrasso’s disparaging comments regarding the pipeline vote.

Republicans claim that Landrieu’s position as head of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee does not matter as long as Reid is the Majority Leader of the Senate.

Any standalone legislation on the Keystone pipeline is sure to get blocked by Reid, which is a fact that Republicans are hoping will help them win back the upper chamber of Congress in this year’s midterm elections.

“The reality is if the project is going to get approved, Congress is going to have to do it. The president clearly is not going to approve it,” said Sen. John Hoven (R-ND.)

The pipeline itself places a major problem on the president’s lap. Environmental groups vehemently oppose the construction of the pipeline, while labor unions want it built for the 42,100 direct and indirect jobs the construction would create.

Both of these groups are key Democratic voting blocks, meaning that a decision from the president regarding the pipeline could alienate one of the two very quickly.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has argued against the construction of the pipeline himself, saying “The issue is that the scientific community is overwhelmingly in agreement that climate change is real. That climate change is caused by human activity. That climate change is the most devastating planetary crisis facing our planet. That climate change has already caused serious problems in our country.”

Sanders’ views are indicative of the outspoken environmental opinion surrounding the pipeline, and the environmental lobby is sure to pressure Democrats such as Reid to block the pipeline’s construction.

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1 Comment

  1. Yonatan YONATAN

    Jun 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    For many Americans, “The American Dream”, has turned out to be “The American Nightmare”. While the republicans in the senate enjoy their American dream lifestyle, they condemned three million unemployed families, to poverty, and to financial ruin. Since late last December, these families have watched their savings, their homes, their security, disappear before their eyes. Over the past six months, the republicans held the extension bill “hostage” in the senate, for political leverage, and their party’s agenda. They had no intention of ever helping these families, but continued to prolong their suffering. While Billions of dollars was approved for the Ukraine, nothing was approved for these people. These politicians have shown not only a lack of compassion, and common decency, but utter contempt for the poor and unemployed. There are no “family values” in their party’s agenda whatsoever. They have failed these millions of families. They are truly a disgrace to the office they hold, and need to be voted out of their jobs in the coming elections. The republican pass bills that benefit corporations, but fail at passing bills to benefit the people who are laid off from these corporations. they no longer represent the 99 percent of Americans.

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