April 21, 2014

Obama’s Keystone Delay Shows Vulnerable Senate Democrats’ Ineffectiveness

Obama-Nod

It has become increasingly clear that the only way to get anything done in the Senate is to remove Harry Reid as Majority Leader. Red State Democrats sure can’t do it. After months of calls from vulnerable Senate Democrats to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, the Obama administration announced on Friday that it would delay its decision on the pipeline, likely until after the midterm elections, by extending its review of the project.

This comes after previous State Department reviews of the project have stated that it would have a negligible environmental impact. The reviews have also concluded that Keystone would create as many as 42,000 new jobs. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

“The White House doesn’t want to reject the pipeline before November because several Senate Democrats running for re-election claim to favor it. We say ‘claim’ because Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu and others can’t even get Majority Leader Harry Reid to give them a vote on the floor.”

The announcement on Keystone underscores how ineffective senators like Mary Landrieu and Mark Begich have been on standing up to the Obama administration and environmentalists on domestic energy production. Earlier in April, eleven Senate Democrats, including vulnerable senators running in November like Landrieu, Begich, Mark Pryor, Mark Warner, Kay Hagan, and John Walsh wrote a letter to Obama urging him to approve the Keystone pipeline by the end of May to no avail, further proving their ineffectiveness and lack of utility to their states in Washington, D.C.

CNBC/Politico contributor Ben White noted that Landrieu may have the most to lose, given that she has touted her influence in Washington as chairwoman of the Energy Committee as the main reason to re-elect her. White pointed out that is not the case:

“But now Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has demonstrated a total inability to actually influence the administration on a key decision that would impact the economy in her state.”

It’s clear the administration’s decision to delay the pipeline is “entirely political.” As The Wall Street Journal put it, “the real reason for the delay is Democratic politics” with the White House trying to appease liberal environmentalist contributors like billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pledged to raise and spend $100 million in 2014.

Politico’s White noted Steyer’s influence:

“There are at least 100 million reasons why the president has held up the decision.”

That explains why Mark Udall has yet to take a firm position in support of Keystone and why Alison Lundergan Grimes is “twisting in the wind” on the pipeline – they want to keep Tom Steyer and his rich buddies happy.