- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2014

Sen. John Barrasso said Monday that he expects a Senate energy committee will easily approve a bill this week to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will never let the measure get a vote in the Senate.

Harry Reid continues to block it on the floor,” Mr. Barrasso said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The president doesn’t seem to want it. I believe he is being held hostage by extremists and funders.”

The Senate and Natural Resources Committee is expected to approve a bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat and Sen. John Hoeven, North Dakota Republican, this week that would green-light the project.

But few expect Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, to let the Senate vote on the proposal.

That has left some red-state Democrats facing re-election in a pickle — namely Mrs. Landrieu, who chairs the committee and supports Keystone but cannot get Mr. Reid to move on the proposal.

Mrs. Landrieu is facing a tough re-election battle in Louisiana. Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who has the support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are also running for the seat.

Mr. Barrasso suggested that the committee action this week is meant to provide Democrats like Mrs. Landrieu some election year cover.

“I think that is why Mary Landrieu is bringing this forward as a show vote in the energy committee this week,” he said. “But Harry Reid could have taken this to the Senate floor weeks ago. He has chosen not to.”