NSA overhaul and Keystone XL postponed

Two weeks after taking back the Senate in mid-terms elections, the Republicans inflicted a first defeat on President Barack Obama by rejecting the overhaul of the National Security Agency (NSA) initiated by the White House in the aftermath, among other things, of the revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013. 60 out of 100 votes were required to add the project to the agenda but only 58 voted for it. Conversely, the Democrats led by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana rejected the Keystone oil pipeline project between Canada and the United States. Although it has become operational since 2010, its extension codenamed Keystone XL introduced in 2008 that is to reach Montana and Oklahoma has failed to get State Department’s approval so far. The deadlock will likely end with newly-elected Republican senators taking the oath in January 2015.