By Laura Barron-Lopez - 09/18/14 01:40 PM EDT
Marking the sixth anniversary of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline's permit application, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSunday shows preview: Next steps after Trump upheaval Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA McConnell: Trump needs to act like a 'serious candidate' 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."
Republican Sens. John HoevenJohn HoevenSenate panel approves funding boost for TSA Overnight Energy: Senate Dems block energy, water bill a third time Bison declared national mammal MORE (N.D.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiKerry visits Arctic Circle to see climate impacts Senate panel clears EPA spending bill, blocking rules Momentum slows for major energy bill MORE (Alaska), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP senator: Obama ‘believes he is above the law’ Republican senator expects Trump will 'embrace' GOP platform Sunday shows preview: Bernie soldiers on MORE (Wyo.), John ThuneJohn ThuneRepublicans question Trump's trip to Scotland Short-term FAA bill would likely extend into next year, GOP chairman says Civil liberties group mobilizes against surveillance amendment 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 CornynGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Senate to vote on two gun bills Senate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling 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 ReidSay NO to PROMESA, say NO to Washington overreach Overnight Finance: Wall Street awaits Brexit result | Clinton touts biz support | New threat to Puerto Rico bill? | Dodd, Frank hit back McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns 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.