Reid says he’d allow Keystone pipeline vote

“If it were the only totally non-relevant, non-germane amendment, that would be fine . . . but they have got lots of them,” Reid said.

Sens. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenMcConnell works to salvage tax bill GOP to reduce tax relief by 0B to win over deficit hawks  The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill MORE (R-N.D.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and David VitterDavid VitterThe Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die Questions loom over Franken ethics probe You're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat MORE (R-La.) want to amend the sweeping transportation funding bill with a measure that authorizes TransCanada Corp. to build Keystone, which would bring oil from Alberta’s massive tar sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that lawmakers are close to an agreement on which amendments to the transportation bill will be considered. Click here for more on the wrangling over the transportation bill.

The Obama administration in January rejected a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL project, but President Obama emphasized that the decision was not on the “merits.”

He instead objected to a permit decision deadline that Republicans demanded, alleging it would short-circuit review.

TransCanada plans to reapply for the cross-border permit and is also, with the White House’s blessing, planning to proceed with a portion of the project to bring U.S. oil from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

Advocates of the broader Keystone project – which include powerful industry groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute – say it would boost U.S. energy security and create thousands of jobs.

Environmental groups bitterly oppose the project due to greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and burning oil sands, forest damage from the projects, and fears of spills along the pipeline route.