Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said Tuesday that she would continue to put pressure on the administration to speed up its review of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“I intend to see if we can push forward the approval of the Keystone pipeline,” Landrieu told reporters after a meeting the senator held with Premier Alison Redford of Alberta, Canada, to discuss a way forward on the pipeline, which, if built, would bring crude from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
“The ball is in our court and I hope the United States will make a decision,” Landrieu said. “So I’m going to be calling over to the State Department, pushing the State Department. While the premier can’t do that, members of Congress most certainly can.”
State is currently working to complete an environmental-impact assessment of the project. Once that report has been released, President Obama has final authority to approve or reject the proposal, but that hasn’t stopped members of Congress from weighing in on the decision.
“The Keystone pipeline should have been approved years ago,” Landrieu said, forcefully. “It needs to be approved as soon as possible.”
Environmental groups say the pipeline would hasten oil-sands extraction and increase greenhouse-gas emissions.
Landrieu pushed back against such claims, however, arguing that transporting oil via a pipeline would be better for the environment, and safer, than shipment by rail.
“Right now we’re putting this oil in trains. It’s more dangerous to the atmosphere, causing more greenhouse gases, and much more dangerous to people,” she said, adding: “I don’t really understand the environmental arguments at all relative to this.”
The president has said he will only approve the project if it does not substantially add to atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.
During her trip to Washington, Redford also met with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., as well as Kerri-Ann Jones, the assistant secretary of State for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs .
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.