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President Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid were able to rally enough of the Democratic caucus on Thursday to block a GOP-led effort in the Senate to fast-track construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But they didn't have much room to spare.
Eleven Democrats broke ranks to join a united Republican caucus to vote for the amendment, which would have been attached to a larger highway bill being debated in the upper chamber. But with 56 votes, ultimately the pipeline proposal came up four votes shy of the 60 it needed for passage.
The Democratic defections (via The Hill) were: Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Kay Hagen of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, John Tester of Montana, and Jim Webb of Virginia.
The White House had reportedly spent much of the day lobbying Democrats to defeat the amendment, and Politico reports that Obama went so far as to personally call several lawmakers in an attempt to ensure the measure failed.