On Keystone, Politics Is Thicker Than Oil

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. Landrieu is part of a Louisiana political dynasty. Her father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans in the 1970s, and her brother, Mitch Landrieu, is the city's current mayor. But Landrieu's 1995 run for governor was anything but a coronation. She finished a disappointing third place in the primary. But she recovered quickly, winning her Senate seat the following year.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
Ben Geman
June 18, 2014, 11:19 a.m.

Re­pub­lic­ans are work­ing hard to pre­vent Mary Landrieu from win­ning polit­ic­al trac­tion with her ef­forts to ad­vance the Key­stone XL pipeline.

The cri­ti­cism of the pro-Key­stone Demo­crat Landrieu from pro-Key­stone Re­pub­lic­ans is a les­son in elec­tion-year polit­ics: Policy agree­ment with the oth­er side means little when con­trol of the Sen­ate is at stake.

Landrieu, who is fa­cing a tough reelec­tion battle for her Sen­ate seat in Louisi­ana, suc­cess­fully steered pro-Key­stone le­gis­la­tion through the Sen­ate En­ergy and Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day — but even while sid­ing with the GOP, she could not es­cape cri­ti­cism from a seni­or Re­pub­lic­an, who called it a point­less move.

“I do ques­tion the pur­pose of today’s vote,” said Sen. John Bar­rasso, who heads the Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an Policy Com­mit­tee, ahead of the vote in the com­mit­tee that Landrieu chairs. “With all due re­spect this vote seems more like a cheer­lead­ing ex­er­cise than a mean­ing­ful ef­fort to get Key­stone built.”

“The obstacle of get­ting Key­stone built is Sen­at­or Re­id and mem­bers of the Sen­ate who con­tin­ue to elect him ma­jor­ity lead­er,” Bar­rasso said.

Bar­rasso voted for the bill, which would ap­prove the pro­ject that has long been stalled un­der White House re­view. He was joined by oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans as well as Landrieu and fel­low Demo­crat Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia, while oth­er Demo­crats op­posed it.

The RPC that Bar­rasso leads went after Landrieu in even tough­er terms Tues­day, ques­tion­ing her clout and call­ing the com­mit­tee ac­tion a “show vote.”

But Landrieu fired back at the Wyom­ing Re­pub­lic­an be­fore the vote, chal­len­ging the idea that she’s merely sta­ging a piece of polit­ic­al theat­er.

“There was no pop­corn and Coca-Cola handed out today in this meet­ing, and there were no tick­ets sold to get in here,” Landrieu said, ad­dress­ing Bar­rasso dir­ectly. “This is the United States Sen­ate.”

“This is the En­ergy Com­mit­tee, and those of us are priv­ileged to serve on it. This is about what the fu­ture of our en­ergy policy should look like. And I be­lieve that work­ing with Canada and Mex­ico to cre­ate a North Amer­ic­an en­ergy al­li­ance that sup­ports the needs of this na­tion and sup­ports a grow­ing eco­nomy is crit­ic­al,” she ad­ded in re­marks that be­gin at the one-hour, five-minute mark here.

Landrieu said she’ll work to get a vote in the full Sen­ate, al­though Re­id was non­com­mit­tal at best about the idea on Tues­day.

And Bar­rasso is just one of sev­er­al GOP of­fi­cials to make the case that Landrieu’s Key­stone ad­vocacy means noth­ing as long as Demo­crats are in charge of the Sen­ate.

On Wed­nes­day, ahead of the com­mit­tee vote, the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Sen­at­ori­al Com­mit­tee re­leased a new Web ad at­tack­ing Landrieu’s clout, not­ing that ef­forts to have a Key­stone vote in the full Sen­ate fell apart in May.

And Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell piled on, call­ing it a “show” vote and say­ing: “The ques­tion isn’t wheth­er en­ergy-state Demo­crats can sup­port a Key­stone bill in com­mit­tee — it’s wheth­er or not they’ll con­tin­ue to stand with their party and their lead­er in block­ing the full Sen­ate from vot­ing on it,” the Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an said.

What We're Following See More »
EMERGING BUDGET FRAMEWORK?
Dems Proposes Obamacare-for-Defense Deal
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."

Source:
WHITE HOUSE BLOCKING DOC REQUEST
Michael Flynn Remains A Russian-Sized Problem
14 hours ago
BREAKING

The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.

Source:
SENATE JUDICIARY HEARING
Sally Yates to Testify on May 8
19 hours ago
THE LATEST
MESSAGE TO PUTIN
U.S. To Conduct Exercises In Estonia
19 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.

Source:
NOT WORRIED ABOUT BUDGET NEUTRALITY
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login