This sums up what happened pretty succinctly:
Just heard a loud thump, I think it was the Democratic Party bus… Must have run over someone… #Landrieu
— William J. Upton (@wupton) November 18, 2014
The final vote was 59-41, and there was a protest on the floor at the end of the vote, some sort of a Native American chant.
I guess the solid thumping Democrats took at the polls on election night didn’t knock any pragmatism into them.
Oh well, Senator John Hoeven told me on the radio last week that even if Keystone legislation fails in the lame duck session, as it just has, he’ll be bringing it up again in the new Congress with a new Republican majority in the Senate. He says he’s confident he has the votes to pass it then.
Still, what a blow to red state Democrats. Not just Landrieu, but this is bad for people like Senator Heidi Heitkamp as well. Heitkamp’s continued political success in North Dakota hinges on how much separation she can get from her national party which has grown intractable on issues North Dakotans care about like Keystone.
Heitkamp being associated with this sort of road-blocking hurts her.
Speaking of Heitkamp, here’s her reaction:
— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) November 18, 2014
Here’s Rep. Kevin Cramer’s response sent out via press release:
“I am disappointed with today’s vote, and the failure of too many Senators to recognize the need for job creation in this country. However, this is not the end of the road. We will bring this same legislation up once again for a vote next year. In the meantime, I would strongly encourage the President to recognize the writing is on the wall and sign the Presidential Permit based on the data he already has, which is more than sufficient.”
And Senator John Hoeven, who is vowing to bring his bill back again in January:
“Today, we did not gain the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to pass my bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Even had it passed, however, President Obama has indicated that he intends to veto the bill. I believe we will have the votes to pass the bill in January when a number of new Senators who support my legislation take office and the new Congress begins.
“At that time, I will reintroduce the bill, possibly as part of a broader energy package or appropriations bill that the president will not want to veto.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is in the interest of the American people, who in poll after poll say they believe the project should be approved by a margin of 60 to 70 percent, and they have good reason. It will help us produce more energy, more jobs and more economic activity. It will strengthen our national security by increasing energy security, and it will help us reduce our dependence on the Middle East for oil because we can produce it at home with our closest ally Canada.
“The Keystone XL pipeline will also greatly benefit North Dakota, which now produces more than 1.2 million barrels of oil a day and transports more than 700,000 barrels a day by rail. It will help relieve stress on our railroads and help them better keep up with our agriculture shipments.
“Our nation needs a sound energy plan, and that means we need the infrastructure to move that energy to market, safely and efficiently. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline will take us a step in the right direction.”