House Approves Keystone Pipeline Proposal
WASHINGTON (CNN)- The GOP-led House of Representatives passed legislation Friday, voting 252-161, approving construction of the Keystone pipeline, which would take that decision away from the Obama Administration.
The debate over Keystone has become a central issue in the Louisiana Senate runoff election, which is scheduled for Dec. 6.
Republican U.S. Rep Bill Cassidy is running against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. The House has already passed similar legislation, but Republicans hope that this latest vote will give Cassidy a boost in next month’s election.
Landrieu has also been pushing for approval of the pipeline, and the Senate is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday. The bill will need 60 votes to pass and it’s expected to be a close vote.
The long-stalled measure got a jump start when Landrieu — the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairwoman facing an uphill re-election battle — saw it as one last chance to demonstrate her clout and began pushing for an immediate vote.
Senate Democrats who had previously ignored the bill are now moving toward giving it a vote in the lame duck session, knowing that Republicans are likely to force the issue after their newly-elected majority is sworn into office in January.
Republicans sought to mute Landrieu’s chances of getting a political boost in her oil-rich state by promising Cassidy a spot on the energy panel, and also having him sponsor the House’s legislation to authorize the pipeline.
The legislation would take the approval of the pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, out of the hands of President Barack Obama’s administration.
His State Department — which must approve the pipeline, since it crosses international borders — is six years into a review of the project. Obama told reporters Friday in Myanmar that his “position hasn’t changed.”
He said the pipeline is still facing a challenge from Nebraska landowners and said he doesn’t think “we should circuit that process.”
“My government believes that we should judge this pipeline based on whether or not it accelerates climate change or whether it helps the American people with their energy costs or their gas prices,” he said.
A State Department spokeswoman said the votes will have no effect on the department’s consideration of the pipeline, and that the review is continuing.
Landrieu, meanwhile, has insisted that the Senate has at least 60 votes to approve the pipeline — and is taking credit for the legislation’s sudden movement.
“I am so pleased to have been one of the spark plugs to help to get us moving — not in the next Congress, but in the lame duck session of this Congress,” she said on the Senate floor Thursday.
The Senate is expected to vote on the pipeline proposal Tuesday.
LITTLE ROCK (KFSM)- Arkansas Republican Representative Tom Cotton voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline on Friday (Nov. 14), according to a release from his office. On Nov. 4, Cotton was elected to the U.S. Senate, beating Democratic candidate Mark Pryor.
The Congressman released the following statement:
“Just as it did last year, today the House voted once again to approve the Keystone Pipeline. This pipeline is a win for our state economy. Not only would it lower Arkansans energy costs, but it would also create hundreds of jobs in the Natural State at places like Welspun Tubular. Unfortunately, President Obama has continued to play political games with this important project and it is now clear he’s interested in nothing more than appeasing his liberal allies. I urge the President to put politics aside and approve they Keystone Pipeline immediately. And if he fails to address this situation, Arkansans can rest assured the Keystone Pipeline will remain one of my top priorities in the months ahead.”