The Senate on Thursday voted 62-36 to build the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, delivering Republicans the first legislative victory of their new majority.Wait, I thought the House had already passed a Keystone Pipeline Bill this session?
Nine Democrats joined with Republicans in voting to approve the $8 billion project, five votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a promised veto from President Obama.
The nine Democrats who voted to approve Keystone were Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.)
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The bill now heads to the House, where Republicans are determined to act quickly to force Obama into taking what they believe will be a politically unpopular stand against a project that would carry oil sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
While the House voted to build the pipeline earlier this year, the Senate added several amendments to the legislation during three weeks of work, the byproduct of McConnell’s promise to give individual members more input on the floor.You mean they allowed Senators to actually vote amendments to the bill? When did that start happening? Oh, right. . .
Aides said House Republicans have not decided whether to pass the Senate bill as is or seek a conference committee, where a final version would be negotiated between the chambers.
Obama has repeatedly warned Congress not to short-circuit the federal review of the pipeline and seems poised to issue the third veto of his presidency when the legislation hits his desk.The State Department, who must rule on the Keystone Pipeline, has already twice given it's approval to the Keystone, only to have it sent back to Obama with understood instructions do find something wrong with it, to burnish his environmentalist credentials.
"If, in fact, the legislation that passed the House also passes the Senate, then the president won't sign it," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday.
"We are hoping the president, upon reflection, will sign agree to sign onto a bill that his State Department says could creates 42,000 jobs," McConnell said.As Instapundit says, make him wear out that veto pen on jobs bills, cuts in the federal work force, and other popular legislation.
UPDATE: This would also be a good time to read this article by Jonah Goldberg:
Why Obama and the Saudis Like Low Gas Prices
. . . By artificially keeping oil prices low, the Saudis get to deal a powerful blow to the energy revolution in the U.S. (They also get to deliver a severe economic blow to their enemies the Iranians, which is nice.) In exchange, Obama gets an unearned political windfall and can claim vindication for his ineffectual economic policies.
Obama is paying back the Saudis by permanently taking the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve’s billions of barrels of oil off the table for all time. By doing so, he also puts the entire Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS) on a starvation diet. North Slope oil production is half of what it once was, and if it falls below 350,000 barrels per day, the TAPS itself will start to become economically and technically unfeasible. In other words, Saudi Arabia’s short-term economic hit is an investment in future dependence on Saudi oil.
Of course, there need not be a conspiracy, just a convergence of economic and political interests. But the fact remains that Obama could never have gotten away with restricting energy development in ANWR before an election or when gas prices were high. This is Obama’s window, and it appears the Saudis are holding it open for him for as long as he needs.