GOP mulls legislation to force Keystone approval

Anticipating that Obama would reject the pipeline, top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee met Tuesday to discuss legislative options. And a meeting with other GOP lawmakers on the panel is scheduled for next week.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Wednesday that Republican leaders are eyeing a bill authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) that would move a final decision on the Keystone permit from the State Department to the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“That’s first in line. Terry has a very good bill,” Upton said. “I like the Terry bill and I’m sure that will be part of the debate we have, but like I said, all options are on the table.”

Upton said it’s possible that Republicans will try to add a provision aimed at approving the pipeline in the upcoming payroll tax package.

“We very well could,” he said. We’ve got a lot of options.”

Separately, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) has crafted draft legislation that would put the final decision on Keystone in the hands of Congress, not the White House.

House Republicans have said they will also consider the Senate bill.

The measures face major hurdles in the Senate, but will serve as a political rallying cry for Republicans going into the 2012 election.

This story was updated at 5:26 p.m.