Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate sets date for hearings on Sessions's attorney general nomination Mnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Business groups express support for Branstad nomination MORE (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that Canada is "smarter" than the United States because it is developing its energy resources despite climate change concerns.

Grassley was speaking about Canada’s determination to pump crude oil from its tar sands regardless of whether the United States agrees to build the Keystone XL pipeline that would transfer that oil to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast.

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“They’re smarter than we are,” Grassley said on the Senate floor. “They’ve made a national decision that they’re going to harvest their nation’s energy resources.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid: Comey should be investigated in wake of Russia report Spokesman: NY Times ignored Reid's comments in pre-election story on Russia Senate passes dozens of bills on way out of town MORE (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he was in talks with Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenSenate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Feds deny permit for Dakota Access pipeline Dem senator to meet with Trump MORE (R-N.D.) — the author of a bill to congressionally approve the pipeline construction — to allow a vote on his measure as an amendment to an energy efficiency bill expected to hit the floor next week.

Hoeven and several other Republicans came to the Senate floor Tuesday to discuss the benefits of building the pipeline, which the Obama administration has delayed for more than five years. 

“We’re asking quite simply for a vote,” Hoeven said. “It is Congress’s responsibility to take a stand. … As part of [the energy efficiency bill] we’re going to require a vote on Keystone XL pipeline and everybody can decide where they stand.”

Hoeven said that under the foreign commerce clause of the Constitution, Congress has the authority to bypass the administration and approve construction of the pipeline. 

The administration has delayed action because of concerns from environmentalists who worry about the effect a spill and more fossil fuel consumption will have on the environment.

“The president is clearly acquiescing to environmentalists,” Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSenate clears water bill with Flint aid, drought relief Critics of Jeff Sessions's LGBT case don't know their history (or his) Senate sets date for hearings on Sessions's attorney general nomination MORE (R-Ala.) said.