Politico: The Rise of the Liberal “Hell No” Caucus

Aaron Flint posted on November 19, 2014 14:35 :: 1749 Views

A huge embarrassment for Senate Democrats.  An XL embarrassment for Senate Democrats.  And no, not just for Mary Landrieu, who is in a runoff election battle down in Louisiana.  The defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline in the US Senate is also an embarrassment for Upper Plains state senators like Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Jon Tester of Montana.

Especially for Jon Tester.  Tester was just being hailed by state media last week for his influential new role as chairman of the DSCC- the fundraising arm for Democrats running for the US Senate in 2016.  If the incoming chair of the DSCC couldn’t even convince ONE Democratic Senator to vote for the Keystone pipeline- what does that say about his influence in the US Senate? 

Of course, this will all change in January when Republicans take over the United States Senate.  As long as those same Senate Democrats who claim to support the pipeline will still support it, the measure will pass both houses of Congress. 

With that type of pressure piling on to President Obama, even if he is unwilling to sign the measure into law, will he simply allow it to become law anyway without his signature?  That seems to be the real question.  But it all comes back to those Upper Plains state senators and voters keeping the pressure on the White House.     

Politico’s Morning Energy notes that the new Republican-controlled Senate will likely have 54 members, plus nine pro-Keystone Democrats.   

The liberal ‘hell no’ caucus: The defeat marked a major show of muscle for next year’s new hell-no caucus: liberals. Liberal Senate Democrats united to block the controversial project, even though their imperiled colleague begged them not to at a Democratic caucus lunch that afternoon. But a number of red-state Democrats are on their way out, and liberals like Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren may cause as many headaches for Senate Republicans as tea partiers caused Democrats in the past four years. Burgess Everett: http://politi.co/14HZjSJ

And what about this note from the AP:

While Obama opposes the measure, likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has repeatedly refused to take a position. Most recently, her spokesman did not respond to two requests over the weekend to do so.

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