McConnell: Make me majority leader, I'll give you Keystone XL

Marking the sixth anniversary of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline's permit application, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) teased voters with a preview of what a GOP-controlled Senate would do.

"If American people give us the opportunity to be in a majority next year, I'll be setting the agenda," McConnell said. "It's easier to score if you're on offense, and the majority leader is offensive coordinator."

He added: "If we have a new majority next year, and a new majority leader, the Keystone pipeline will be voted on on the floor of the Senate, something the current majority has been avoiding for literally years."

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The promise should come as no surprise as Republicans have voiced constant frustration with the administration over the $5.4 billion project, which would carry crude from oil sands in Alberta to Gulf refineries.

Republican Sens. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenAir Force One is Trump’s new boardroom Overnight Finance: Trump strikes debt, spending deal with Dems | Deal shocks GOP | Fed’s No. 2 to resign | Trump keeps tax squeeze on red state Dems | House aims to pass budget next week Trump praises Dem senator during tax speech MORE (N.D.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort How Senate relationships could decide ObamaCare repeal MORE (Alaska), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDems force 'Medicare for All' on Americans but exempt themselves GOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Overnight Health Care: CBO predicts 15 percent ObamaCare premium hike | Trump calls Sanders single-payer plan ‘curse on the US’ | Republican seeks score of Sanders’s bill MORE (Wyo.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (S.D.) joined McConnell in marking the anniversary of Keystone's permit, which is currently in limbo at the State Department.

All 45 Republican senators also sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday, calling on him, yet again, to approve the pipeline, which they argue is "shovel-ready."

Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE (R-Texas) said, when asked by voters why the pipeline has yet to be approved, that he blames billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer.

"There is no good answer to this other than the ideological blinders that Sen. Barrasso was alluding to and the fact that Tom Steyer will come after any Democrat who votes for this because of his own ideological blinders," Cornyn said.

He added that, if given the majority, Republicans would pass Keystone XL, move on natural gas exports, and "have a robust debate about crude [oil exports] as well."

Environmentalists and liberal Democrats are adamantly opposed to the pipeline, arguing it would significantly contribute to climate change, as well as endangering the environment and homes along the project's route.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) offered to have a binding vote on Keystone XL earlier this year as long as Republicans joined with Democrats in passing a major energy efficiency bill.

Republicans wouldn't budge, blasting Reid for blocking their energy amendments.