Home / Energy / House to vote on Keystone, Landrieu seeks action
In this photo taken Nov. 4, 2014, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., acknowledges supporters at her election night headquarters in New Orleans. Republicans have promised her Senate opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy a seat on the Senate's energy committee if he defeats Landrieu in the state's runoff election next month. The move undercuts one of Landrieu's chief campaign arguments, that voters in the state with a robust oil and gas industry need her and her seniority on the committee. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

House to vote on Keystone, Landrieu seeks action

WASHINGTON  — Call it a high-stakes political poker game, with the Louisiana Senate seat the big prize.

Three-term Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, facing an uphill fight to hold her seat in a Dec. 6 runoff, on Wednesday called for a vote on approving the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline project.

Within an hour, Republican leaders in the House announced that lawmakers would vote Thursday on a bill sponsored by Landrieu’s Republican rival, Rep. Bill Cassidy, to build the pipeline.

The back-and-forth came against the backdrop of a new political landscape and fresh calls for an end to Washington gridlock. Republicans rolled in midterm elections, seizing majority control of the Senate with a net gain of eight seats. A GOP victory in Louisiana would make it nine.

Echoing Landrieu’s plea were moderate Democrats from Republican states, who argued for the project that would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast. The southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas is already operational.

Landrieu’s request put Republicans who have pressed for the pipeline on the spot, rejecting Landrieu’s call would open them to widespread criticism. Rather, they could go along and seek to add amendments to the bill.

Democrats were expected to go along with Landrieu.

In related news, Senate Democrats may vote on Keystone in lame duck session.

The remaining question was whether President Barack Obama would sign the measure. He has delayed a decision on the project that is opposed by environmental groups. Republicans insist that it will create jobs.

Asked if Obama would sign it, Landrieu told reporters, “I do not know.”

In a speech on the Senate floor, Landrieu spoke of bipartisanship and her willingness to work with Republicans. She pressed for a speedy vote on Keystone, telling her colleagues.

“I want to say yes to majority leader — new majority leader Mitch McConnell,” she said. “The time to start is now.”

Seizing on word of the House vote, Landrieu said, “Hallelujah,” and added, “We have now even a clearer path to victory.”

Landrieu has been the powerful chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a post she will lose when Republicans take charge in January.

Energy has been a central issue in the Senate race, and Keystone a frequent flashpoint with both Landrieu and Cassidy supporting the project. Cassidy has said Landrieu has been unable to deliver because of her party’s leadership.

Landrieu has a strong alliance with the oil and gas industry and has pushed for an expansion of drilling in the U.S.

If elected, Cassidy would get a seat on the Energy panel. As a new senator, he would be low in the pecking order of panel members, and in the final two years of Obama’s presidency, Cassidy and Louisiana’s all-GOP congressional delegation would likely have little sway with the Democratic administration.

As Louisiana’s last Democratic statewide elected official, Landrieu has a difficult path to victory in a state that overwhelmingly backed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. Fifty-eight percent of voters supported someone other than Landrieu in the primary last week.

Republican leaders are uniting behind Cassidy, a three-term congressman, while the national Democratic Party has decided against providing advertising support for Landrieu in the runoff.

In a statement, Cassidy said it “is easy to wonder if the Senate is only considering this because of politics, even so, I hope the Senate and the president do the right thing and pass this legislation creating thousands of jobs.”


Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contributed to this report.


  1. she is going to swim backwards on all things now to try to get re-elected… get her out of there….

  2. How much of the pipeline will designated for bakken crude?

    • Bryan we will never know. The last pipeline they built 6-7 years ago that runs just outside Valley City said they were going to put Bakken crude in it. To this date none has. They used this as a “benefit need” so they could use eminent domain otherwise it couldn’t have been built. Their promise was to use American steel at a certain quality and thickness. They used poorer grade steel made in India. They have to heat this crap so they can put through this pipe to even get it to flow.

  3. 100,000 Barrels per day, Bryan. 700,000 barrels + for that low-grade Canadian crap.
    “May” and “Might” are two terms still attached to Bakken crude participation…no iron-clad guarantees. Thing is, with east and west coast refineries sporting premium prices, rail is going to trump pipelined crude to the gulf, they discount heavily. Plus, once the lid goes shut on a tanker, the oil company’s liability ends.

  4. Whole family is typical lying democrats

  5. Over fed psycho anarchist..We don’t need any more on that loser?

  6. Over fed psycho anarchist..We don’t need any more on that loser?

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