A Vulnerable Democrat Pushes The Keystone XL Pipeline

TIME

Seniority in Washington isn’t what it used to be, but it still has certain perquisites. Mary Landrieu chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, a perch that offered the vulnerable Louisiana Democrat an opportunity Wednesday to mix policy and politics.

With President Barack Obama delaying a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reluctant to schedule a floor vote on a bill that would subvert Obama’s authority, Landrieu pushed through a committee vote on the controversial pipeline. It passed, 12-10, with Landrieu joining Republicans to vote in favor of the project.

The move could be a political boon for Landrieu, a moderate Democrat locked in a difficult fight to win reelection in the conservative Bayou State. One recent poll found that 67% of Louisiana voters favored construction of the pipeline, with just 12% opposing the project. Nearly four in five respondents cited Keystone…

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