Vulnerable Senate Dems get hit on natural gas exports

Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are capitalizing on legislation the House approved this week in their Senate campaigns.

The two congressmen ganged up on Democratic incumbents Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Udall (Colo.) over liquified natural gas (LNG) exports Thursday after the House passed Gardner's legislation to speed up export applications.

Cassidy and Gardner issued a statement pressuring Landrieu and Udall to act on gas exports in the Senate.

Udall has proposed legislation similar to  Gardner's in the Senate, but his places a 45-day deadline on the Energy Department to approve export applications where Gardner's bill imposes 30 days.

"Senator Udall should capitalize on his new-found friendship with Chairwoman Landrieu and pressure Majority Leader Reid to bring our bipartisan LNG exports bill up for a vote in the Senate,” Gardner said in a statement Thursday.

Gardner added: "Relying on their supposed clout, Senators Udall and Landrieu shouldn't have any trouble convincing [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] to hold a vote, especially considering our legislation received the support of House Democratic leadership."

Landrieu said last week that she is working with Udall to hold a vote on his bill in the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, which she chairs, but the chances of it reaching the full chamber are slim.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is ranking member on the committee, told The Hill Thursday that there is a possibly the committee will mark up Udall's bill after the July 4, recess. She added, however, that the committee has yet to hold a hearing on Udall's legislation.

If Landrieu is unable to schedule a committee vote in the little time that is left before November, it may hurt her politically, especially with Cassidy turning the pressure up.

"Harry Reid could and should stop the blockade of this legislation so that there is a full Senate vote, but he's letting Senator Landrieu and Senate Democrats play for press releases," Cassidy said in a statement.

For her part, Landrieu has distanced herself from President Obama's climate agenda as much as possible, stating time and time again that she agrees with little if any of his energy policies.

The two Senate races will be critical to determining which party controls the Senate next year.