Obama Losing on Keystone

While most people’s attention has been focused on the Democrats’ War on Dogs, something even more important has been happening in Washington: opposition to the Keystone Pipeline has been crumbling. Byron York tells us something I hadn’t seen reported elsewhere:

[O]n Capitol Hill, more and more Democrats are joining Republicans to force approval of the pipeline, whether Obama wants it or not.

The latest action happened Wednesday, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway — by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That’s a lot of defections. …

GOP leaders expect even more Democrats to join them.

Support for Keystone is growing in the Senate, too, as Democrats are barely able to filibuster approval of the pipeline:

In a vote last month, 11 Senate Democrats stood up against Obama to vote in favor of the pipeline. Add those 11 to the Republicans’ 47 votes, and the pro-pipeline forces are just a couple of votes away from breaking Harry Reid’s filibuster.

“We’re right around the corner from actually passing it,” says a well-informed Senate source. “Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing.”

So Obama is more or less on his own. If he follows through on his threat to veto any legislation approving the pipeline, the veto will probably be upheld in the Senate, as overriding it would require 67 votes. But does Obama really want to isolate himself to that degree in an election year? Undoubtedly not. Byron concludes:

The odds are overwhelming that the Keystone pipeline will become a reality. In the end, Barack Obama has mostly hurt himself by trying to stop it.

That is, perhaps, the best of all possible worlds.

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