GOP senators: Committee action on Keystone is ‘show vote’

Republican senators said the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approval of legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline was simply a “show vote.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he supports the construction of the pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast, but that it doesn’t mean anything until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agrees to hold a floor vote.

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“The question isn’t whether energy-state Democrats can support a Keystone bill in committee — it’s whether or not they’ll continue to stand with their party and their leader in blocking the full Senate from voting on it, or whether they’ll stand up for jobs and demand a vote,” McConnell said Wednesday.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) joined McConnell, saying the committee vote was “nothing more than a show vote.”

“The Democratic Majority Leader has no intention of allowing a vote on this bill,” Barrasso said. “President Obama can’t afford that.”

The administration has delayed construction of the pipeline for nearly five years, citing environmental concerns.

Earlier this year, Reid did agree to hold an up-or-down vote on Keystone construction while the Senate was considering a bipartisan energy efficiency bill. But Republicans continued to demand more amendment votes, causing Reid to pull the deal.