Republicans are working hard to prevent Mary Landrieu from winning political traction with her efforts to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.
The criticism of the pro-Keystone Democrat Landrieu from pro-Keystone Republicans is a lesson in election-year politics: Policy agreement with the other side means little when control of the Senate is at stake.
Landrieu, who is facing a tough reelection battle for her Senate seat in Louisiana, successfully steered pro-Keystone legislation through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday — but even while siding with the GOP, she could not escape criticism from a senior Republican, who called it a pointless move.
"I do question the purpose of today's vote," said Sen. John Barrasso, who heads the Senate Republican Policy Committee, ahead of the vote in the committee that Landrieu chairs. "With all due respect this vote seems more like a cheerleading exercise than a meaningful effort to get Keystone built."
"The obstacle of getting Keystone built is Senator Reid and members of the Senate who continue to elect him majority leader," Barrasso said.
Barrasso voted for the bill, which would approve the project that has long been stalled under White House review. He was joined by other Republicans as well as Landrieu and fellow Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, while other Democrats opposed it.