- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2014

With the Senate set to vote on legislation approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a Republican senator says the move is merely a “cynical attempt” to save the seat of an embattled Democrat.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, will face Republican Bill Cassidy in a runoff election next month. Ms. Landrieu has been an outspoken supporter of the pipeline, leading some Republicans to claim the upcoming vote is an effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to throw one of his members a political lifeline.

Mr. Reid previously has blocked all Keystone votes in his chamber.

“This is a cynical attempt to save a Senate seat in Louisiana. If Democrats were serious about this we would have voted on this years ago,” said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

The House already has voted to approve the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. The measure appears to have the votes to pass the Senate, but the White House has hinted President Obama will veto the measure.

Mr. Obama says he’s waiting on more environmental reviews and the resolution of a court case in Nebraska, where judges will decide whether the pipeline’s route is legal.

In the meantime, Democrats hope that, if the bill passes the Senate, the president will veto it.

“I think it’s important to send that signal right off the bat. I think the new Republican majority has long despised and denigrated this president and if they can roll him, I think they would like to,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat. “I think it’s important he sets the stage early on in this, particularly where the stakes are so high for climate, for the environment, for the damage the pipeline will do.”

Mr. Whitehouse also appeared on “Fox News Sunday.”

State Department data show the pipeline will create more than 40,000 jobs while causing no significant impact on greenhouse-gas emissions.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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