Poe added that environmentalists are against "everything, it seems, except those curly CFL lightbulbs that come from China."

Rep. John Duncan (R-S.C.) also lent his support to the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, and blamed environmentalists for ignoring the plight of regular, working Americans who need relief from higher gas prices.

"Most of these environmentalists today seem to come from very upper income and very wealthy families, and perhaps they don't realize how much they hurt the poor and the lower income and the working people by destroying jobs and driving up prices, but that's what they're doing," he said.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), however, said TransCanada has had problems with oil spills before, and that further environmental review is warranted. He also argued that the pipeline would go through a major Midwest aquifer, and said the State Department and EPA are fully capable of reaching a measured decision without pressure from Congress.

"On procedure alone, this congressional consideration of a bill that is currently under review by the Department of State is unnecessary and unprecedented, while potentially negatively affecting our national security and safety," Quigley said. "This proposed pipeline needs no congressional approval."

The House is expected shortly after noon to begin debating the rule for the bill, and is expected to debate the bill itself and 11 amendments before approving it today.