Senate Fails To Move Ahead With Keystone Pipeline and NSA Reform

Photo Credit: TownHall

Photo Credit: TownHall

By Matt Vespa.

As Dan wrote [yesterday], the Keystone Pipeline vote went down in flames. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Hail Mary ended in disaster; she fell one vote shy to invoke cloture on a bill that probably would not have saved her from defeat in her state’s upcoming runoff election on Dec. 6 against Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy.

Additionally, a bill to reform the National Security Agency post-Snowden also fell two votes shy of cloture; incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spearheaded the bill’s opposition. Yet, both bills are expected to return to the Senate floor next year. Keystone will probably pass, but the changes in the NSA bill will be quite different under a Republican Senate (via NYT):

[T]he vote only put off a fractious debate over security and personal liberties until next year. While a Republican-controlled Senate is less likely to go along with the kinds of changes that were in the bill, which would have ended the N.S.A.’s ability to collect bulk phone call data, the debate could further expose rifts between the party’s interventionist and more libertarian-leaning wings.

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Photo Credit: TOM PENNINGTON / Getty

Photo Credit: TOM PENNINGTON / Getty

Democrats Block Keystone Bill, Landrieu’s Plea Rejected

BY BEN GEMAN, CLARE FORAN AND JASON PLAUTZ.

Mary Landrieu begged her fellow Democrats to back legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline, looking for a lifeline in her long-shot bid to keep her Senate seat. But on Tuesday night, she fell one vote short.

The Senate rejected an attempt to get cloture on the measure, with 41 senators—all Democrats or independents—voting to stall the measure.

It’s a victory for environmental groups and their Democratic allies, who oppose the oil-sands pipeline because of its contributions to global warming. And it saves President Obama a headache: The White House opposed the bill but will be relieved not to have to veto it.

For Landrieu, it’s another setback at an already low moment. Weeks away from Louisiana’s Dec. 6 runoff election and trailing Rep. Bill Cassidy in the polls, Landrieu had hoped to use her steering of the measure through the Senate to infuse new life into her campaign. She got a boost from her party’s top brass when they agreed to hold a stand-alone Keystone vote, a step they’d been loathe to take in the past.

And going into the vote, Landrieu had 59 assured supporters for her motion, but—despite her assurances she could break a filibuster—it was never clear where she’d get No. 60. Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin was seen as one of Landrieu’s last options, but he voted ‘no’ on the bill.

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