Floor vote to help Sen. Landrieu stay in Senate fails....
True, Harry Reid twice previously brought the Keystone XL pipeline to the Senate floor. But as GOP VA senate candidate Ed Gillespie noted during his near-win senatorial campaign, the vote was under a "no amendments" rule that typified the way the Majority Leader ran the Senate. Reid's rules traduced two centuries of Senate tradition, where "no amendments" rules were a rarity; under Reid, for the first time ever, this has been commonplace. Reid, basically, ran the Senate the way the House is routinely run: as a pure democracy entitled to run roughshod over the consent of the minority. Though inside baseball to most voters it is a signal, and dangerous departure from the way the Senate was designed by the Framers to function: as a check upon tyranny of the majority.
So Reid relents, for a simple reason: to give a boost to Sen. Landrieu, who trails badly in polls.
Yesterday's Senate vote came after the House voted 252-161 last Friday in favor of Keystone; 31 Ds voted for, 161 against, while every Republican voted for the bill. The Senate roll call was 59-41, falling short by one vote to impose "cloture" on further debate, which would have set the stage for a vote on the bill itself.
Sen. Landrieu is now given little chance to win the December 6 runoff. Fittingly, the House bill passed last week was sponsored by ... (drum roll, please) ... Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, the GOP senatorial candidate who seeks Ms. Landrieu's seat in the run-off.
Bottom Line. Any action on Keystone awaits a new Congress, with 9 more GOP members. Still, it will take 13 Democratic senators to override an expected Obama veto.
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