With the “A-team” of freshmen headed into the US Senate, are we close to a veto-proof majority on the Keystone XL pipeline? The answer to that question and more is below, as Politico’s Morning Energy notes that Dems could be facing a long exile from coal country.
Wall Street Journal: The Senate’s Talent Infusion
The Senate is about to change in ways that go far beyond GOP control. Voters aren’t just sending a bumper crop of Republicans to Washington in January; they are sending an A-Team.
On domestic issues, nowhere are Republicans better offensively positioned than on energy. Colorado’s new senator, Cory Gardner, won in part by pummeling his opponent on fracking and Keystone, and by highlighting energy legislation he’d authored in the House. Mr. Sullivan, the former head of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, can and will talk all day about pipelines, drilling on more federal land, and energy regulations. Montana’s Steve Daines made a name for himself in the House with aggressive oversight of the EPA.
Washington is poised for a major battle over corporate or broader tax reform. Joining the fight will be Georgia’s new Senate voice, David Perdue, a successful businessman who made tax reform central to his campaign. Mr. Daines is a former businessman who loves the subject and helped rally opposition in the House to Internet taxation. North Carolina’s new senator, Thom Tillis, another businessman, has spent four years as speaker of the North Carolina House, where he shepherded a tax-code overhaul and budget reforms. These new senators are also likely to have prominent roles in upcoming budget and spending debates.
Speaking of the Keystone pipeline, The Hill included these two tidbits from the Sunday talk shows:
Barrasso compares executive action to ‘hand grenade’ The senator said Obama’s decision on immigration will set the tone for the new Congress. http://ow.ly/E1AoI
Incoming GOP senator: Keystone votes are there Shelley Moore Capito said Obama would be smart to compromise. http://ow.ly/E1F2A
Politico’s Morning Energy on Monday:
THE SMOG’S THE THING – OBAMA TO PRESS XI ON CLIMATE: The Chinese government has been trying to clear the air so that President Barack Obama and other world leaders arriving in Beijing this week won’t choke on the city’s thick smog. Despite forcing cars off the roads and closing factories, the effort has faltered, as air pollution rose to “unhealthy” levels Friday and Saturday. But the Obama administration is hoping that this environmental stumble provides an opportunity to clear a different type of air while in China: the climate of fraught negotiations between the two countries over global warming. People briefed on the administration’s strategy heading into Obama’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week say U.S. officials hope the bad air quality will prod the government to finally make a significant commitment to fight climate change. http://politi.co/1ueysHk
CAPITO SAYS KXL SUPPORTERS CLOSE TO VETO-PROOF MAJORITY: Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito on Sunday projected that Keystone XL supporters in the next Senate will reach a level of “over probably 65 votes,” although her count may be higher than is possible. According to POLITICO’s vote count, the next Senate will have 61 Keystone XL supporters. Another four Democrats – Chris Coons and Tom Carper of Delaware, Bill Nelson of Florida and Michael Bennet of Colorado – supported a budget resolution related to the pipeline in 2013, but it is unclear whether any of them would actually vote for the pipeline itself. Capito made the remarks on Fox News Sunday while predicting President Barack Obama will ultimately approve the pipeline. “I think he’d be really smart to do it when he sees a margin in the Senate of over probably 65 votes. I would hope so,” she said. “I mean, if we’re looking at jobs, if we’re looking at infrastructure, we’ve got an energy growth in our country that we really need to capitalize on.”
Morning Energy had this last week: DEMS COULD FACE LONG EXILE FROM COAL COUNTRY
The Republicans’ romp this week may have permanently turned coal country from blue to red. Coal-heavy districts in West Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois that had been steadily moving away from Democrats in recent elections appear to have completed that shift Tuesday, when they overwhelmingly backed Republicans who vowed to oppose what they call President Barack Obama’s “war on coal.” Coal was only one issue for voters, who also cited the economy and Obamacare as reasons for ditching the Democrats in the midterms. But with EPA moving ahead on rules to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, and its past pollution regulations helping push dozens of old coal-fired power plants into retirement, candidates who line up with the president became a tough sell in areas that have few other industries outside the shrinking coal-mining sector. Erica Martinson has more: http://politico.pro/1yb9J5O