Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp "is ready to take on President Obama over the long-delayed approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline — and she predicts her side will prevail," according to USA Today.
Heitkamp is not one to oppose Obama, in general, but this time the North Dakotan is seeing things differently. "We know that we have the votes here in the Senate; we certainly have the votes in the House," she tells the paper "In fact, I think we could build enough votes to override a veto."
Still, she opposes the suggestion by some pipeline supporters that the permit be used as leverage in last-ditch negotiations over funding the government, saying the issues should be considered separately. She predicts those budget talks are going to fail before Tuesday's deadline, prompting a partial government shutdown.
"My guess is it's unfortunately going to take a very dramatic act for people to realize that we're playing a game of Russian roulette with a very fragile economic recovery," she said on the weekly newsmaker video series Capital Download. "I think it's going to take a shutdown to achieve results."
She is impatient on both fronts: for Congress to negotiate a so-called continuing resolution that is "clean," funding the government without being tied to extraneous issues, and for the president to decide what to do about the pipeline.
"The Keystone Pipeline decision has taken longer than it took us to defeat Hitler," she said. "There's just something wrong with this process."