Harry Reid’s dictatorial Senate rule kills Keystone XL

It looks like the Keystone XL oil pipeline is may be dead until next year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Republicans in the chamber failed to reach a deal on the Shaheen-Portman energy bill in an advance of an unsuccessful procedural vote earlier this week that could have setup a binding vote on the pipeline:

The failure to reach a deal pushes the issue firmly back into the hands of the administration, which is unlikely to make a decision until at least the end of the year.

The State Department has said it will not complete its review until litigation over the pipeline’s route becomes more clear in Nebraska, a process that could put off an administration decision indefinitely.


As a result, the Senate standoff left green groups confident that Keystone would not be approved this year, and that it was dead for the rest of the Obama era.
Even supporters of Keystone acknowledged Monday’s vote was a blow.

Reid has offered a binding vote on Keystone XL in exchange for enough Republican support to invoke cloture and set the stage for final passage. Republicans, however, wanted votes on amendments to the bill. Reid refused, the latest example of the majority leader blocking GOP-backed amendments for fear that they would pass:

In the case of Portman-Shaheen, Republicans had prepared amendments to speed up exports of liquefied natural gas; to object to a new national carbon tax; to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on coal plants; and to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. A majority of the public supports these positions and many Democrats from right-leaning or energy-producing states claim to do the same. The bill against the EPA’s coal-plant rules is co-sponsored by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.

Yet the White House and Mr. Reid’s dominant liberal wing won’t take the chance that a bipartisan coalition might pass these amendments, most of which the House has passed or soon would. President Obama would thus face a veto decision that would expose internal Democratic divisions. So Mr. Reid shut down the amendment process. Republicans then responded by refusing to provide the 60 votes necessary to clear a filibuster and vote on the underlying bill.

Barring some sort of miracle, Keystone XL is dead until at least after the 2014 mid-term election, or, quite possibly, even 2015, which is what the Obama administration wanted, anyway. Because, you know, the wants of a radical environmentalist billionaire mean more to President Obama and Harry Reid than what’s best for the economy.

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