A prominent union boss warned on Wednesday that Democrats would pay for blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.
“For every action, there’s a reaction, and our members’ reaction will be felt in the next election,” Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), told PoliticoPro.
LIUNA, like many unions, gave generously to the Democrats during the midterm elections. The union gave more than $2.3 million to Democratic candidates and $920,000 to the party’s main super PACs for 2014.
O’Sullivan went on to say that the Democrats who voted against the pipeline, “took food off the table of our members, and we don’t take that lightly.”
He then vowed “to assess from top to bottom who we give to, what we give.”
“Every president has to speak for their own membership,” O’Sullivan added. “Our membership is repulsed and disgusted.”
Keystone XL has already divided labor unions from much of the rest of the Democratic Party. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and the Teamsters are key unions that supported the pipeline in order to create jobs for members. (RELATED: White House And Unions Divided Over Keystone)
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who voted against the pipeline, said on the Senate floor, “The Keystone pipeline was proposed to accommodate increased extraction of oil from the tar sands of Alberta. Now these tar sands cover an area of 54,000 square miles—that’s roughly the size of New York. So it is huge.”
Feinstein expressed concern about the resultant toxic waste, adding, “And that’s just extraction. Transportation of the oil poses additional risks to the environment, namely the risk of pipeline spills.”
Right before the vote, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “Well, the president has been very clear about what our views are as it relates to the Keystone bill. “
Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who voted in favor for the pipeline explained in a statement, “There are 2.6 million miles of pipeline infrastructure in place in the United States today.”
He continued, “Adding another 1,179 miles is minute in comparison and would reap immense economic benefits, while having little or no effect on the environment. I am disappointed Senate Democrats continue to put politics and special interests above creating thousands of American jobs; however, I am optimistic that the Senate will approve the project next year under the new Republican majority.”
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