Senate blocks bid to speed Keystone approval -- but Obama loses Dems despite lobbying
The Senate on Thursday blocked a move to speed along the approval and construction of the controversial Keystone pipeline, after the White House lobbied Democrats to oppose it.
A total of 11 Democrats, though, ended up breaking with the president to vote for the Republican-backed amendment -- at a time when gas prices are rising and pipeline supporters are using that trend to pressure the administration to act.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said after the vote that the Democrat-controlled Senate had "turned its back on job creation and energy independence in a single vote."
McConnell, referring to reports later confirmed by the White House that Obama personally lobbied Democrats to oppose the measure, also used the vote to place blame for the pipeline's delay squarely on the president.
"President Obama's personal pleas to wavering senators may have tipped the balance against this legislation. When it comes to delays over Keystone, anyone looking for a culprit should now look no further than the Oval Office," he said.
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Democrats who voted for the Keystone amendment on Thursday were: Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Kay Hagan, D-N.C.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Jim Webb, D-Va.; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; and Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
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