By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Tuesday that there are as many as 58 votes in the Senate for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“We have 57 or 58 votes as I stand here [for Keystone],” Landrieu said on the Senate floor.
She and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced a bill last week to approve the pipeline that would move oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast. The bill has 56 co-sponsors, so it’s unclear who the extra Democrat would be joining Landrieu if it were to come to a vote.
Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner (Va.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), John Walsh (Mont.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) are the 11 other Democrats backing the bill with Landrieu. That would get them to 57 votes if all Republicans support the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he agreed to allow a vote on that binding measure in addition to four other germane amendments, but Republicans keep changing their demands.
“Evidently as balanced, as fair as that sounds, I think it’s unfortunately not going to be sufficient to move this issue forward,” Landrieu said.
Reid would hold passage of the Keystone measure to a 60-vote threshold, meaning Landrieu would still be at least two votes short.
Landrieu has said she'd prefer her bill get a stand-alone vote, rather than be considered as an amendment. That way, it would be easier for the House to send it to President Obama's desk.
The administration has delayed approving the pipeline for nearly five years because of environmental concerns.
— Laura Barron contributed to this article.