Pipeline construction

Today, the Senate voted to approve pro-Keystone legislation, setting the stage for what is likely to become one of the first Republican legislative victories in the new congressional session. After lengthy debate that included votes on more than 40 amendments, the bill passed with bipartisan support in a vote of 62-36.

The Senate’s consideration of the bill included votes on various amendments, most notably an amendment from Senate Energy Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to block President Obama’s announcement to designate part of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge as wilderness and Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) amendment to expedite LNG exports, both of which failed to pass.

Hearing the news, CEA’s Executive Vice President Michael Whatley said, “After two weeks of Senate debate where all Senators were able to offer and vote on amendments, the result is an overwhelming bipartisan win for American energy consumers. President Obama should feel confident that the voices of concern related to the project have been heard, and that the measure reflects the will of the American people.”

Meanwhile, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives will decide whether to vote on the Senate’s bill or attempt to find a compromise in a conference committee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is touting the bill’s eminent approval as proof that Congressional gridlock is starting to abate:

“We want to get Washington functioning again,” said McConnell on the floor. “And we want to pass common-sense ideas. The Keystone debate is showing how we can do both.”

However, even if Congress approves the measure, the GOP may not have the required 67 Senate votes to stop President Obama from making good on threats to veto the bill.