First bill in GOP-run Senate seeks to approve oil pipeline

January 6, 2015 (Indiana) via Assoc. Press

Setting up what is likely to be the first of many confrontations with the White House, the Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday announced its first piece of legislation, a bill to approve the construction of the much-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The bipartisan bill, which is sponsored by all 54 Republicans and six Democrats, was introduced after the new Senate convened. Supporters said they had 63 votes in favor of the bill, enough to overcome a filibuster but not a presidential veto. The House is expected to vote and pass a bill approving the $5.4 billion project, which was first proposed in 2008, on Friday.

“The Congress on a bipartisan basis is saying we are approving this project,” said Sen. John Hoeven, the chief Republican sponsor, at a news conference Tuesday. He said if the president chooses to veto the bill, he would work to attach it to a broader energy package or must-pass spending bills.

The bill is identical to one that failed to pass the Senate by a single vote in November, when Democrats were in control and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana pushed for a vote to save her Senate seat. She lost to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who sponsored the successful House bill approving the pipeline.

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