Senator Deb Fischer says she’s disappointed the Senate failed to pass the Keystone XL bill.
Fischer says construction of the oil pipeline is long overdue.
“As you know, the debate is not over and I look forward to a robust discussion on this project early next year, where we’re going to be free from the political theater that has dominated the Senate this past few days,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call.
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, pushed for a vote on the bill, which many considered a key to her re-election bid. Landrieu faces a run-off election next month.
The Senate failed by one vote to approve the bill, which passed the House last week. Fischer and Sen. Mike Johanns joined other Republicans in the Senate in support of the bill. It needed 60 votes to break a filibuster waged by opponents and force a vote. Landrieu could only muster 59.
“It’s disappointing,” Fischer says, “because there were some Democrat senators who have voted for Keystone bills in the past and, when it came down to it, they wouldn’t vote for it when it mattered.”
Fischer says Keystone XL will return to the Senate next year when Republicans take control of the majority.
Fischer says the vote spared President Barack Obama from having to make a decision.
“I don’t think the president wants to make a decision on the bill,” Fischer says. “I think that maybe played in to Sen. Landrieu only getting 59 votes. Her own party, the majority party, did not support a senator who I think was doing this, because she’s facing a run-off election in her state in December.”
Fischer says the president is torn between two groups who support him: unions which support Keystone and environmentalists who oppose it.
TransCanada needs a presidential permit to cross the Canadian-American border to build the pipeline which would take crude produced from the oil sands in western Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. The southern portion of Keystone XL, from Cushing, OK to the Gulf in Texas is operating. The northern portion would construct the pipeline from western Canada to southern Nebraska, where it could connect with the southern portion.
Keystone XL is an $8 billion project that supporters say would provide energy security for the country and create jobs, while detractors say it will harm the environment.