Keystone one vote from 60 in Senate

Keystone one vote from 60 in Senate
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Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.) and her allies are one vote away from securing a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes for the Keystone XL oil pipeline in the Senate.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetDems knock Trump on Earth Day Dem pushed plan for both sides to admit to abusing Senate rules: report Senators aim to extend federal conservation fund MORE (D-Colo.) is expected to vote in favor of the oil sands project, Landrieu said Friday on a call with reporters.

“He feels very strongly about it,” she said.

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The support of Bennet puts the vote count Keystone at 59, ahead of a critical vote in the Senate next week.

Asked whether she has the 60 votes needed to move forward, Landrieu predicted she would get there.

"I am going to say I'm confident I'll have the 60 votes."

The House on Friday passed an identical version of the bill to approve Keystone, which was sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Cassidy and Landrieu are battling it out in a Louisiana Senate runoff scheduled for Dec. 6, pushing Keystone to the forefront of the agenda in Congress.

Landrieu has corralled 14 Democrats for the Senate Keystone bill, the latest being Sens. Tom CarperTom CarperDems probe claims of religious bias in DHS 'trusted traveler' program Senate Dems want Trump to release ethics waivers, visitor logs Medicare’s coverage decisions need more input from physicians MORE (Del.) and Bennet.

Other Democrats who were seen as possible "yes" votes on the pipeline have declined to join the push.

Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonOvernight Cybersecurity: Ex-officials warn 'Buy American' might harm Pentagon cybersecurity | Chair nudges Trump on cyber order | House gets security training Cruz looks to boost space industry FCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality MORE (D-Fla.), who was courted by Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenCongress nears deal on help for miners Overnight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Congress nears deal on help for miners MORE (R-N.D.) and Landrieu, will vote “no” on the Keystone bill, his spokesman said Friday.

Nelson supports the pipeline but only with a ban on exporting the oil it transports.

Similarly, Sen. Chris CoonsChris CoonsA Vandenberg movement in Congress Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief How Gorsuch's confirmation shapes the next Supreme Court battle MORE (D-Del.) said he would against approving the project, which would ship Canadian crude oil from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

A possible fence-sitter, Sen. Angus KingAngus KingSenator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Conway: Dems should listen to their constituents on tax reform MORE (I-Maine), is “leaning no,” according to his spokesman, giving some hope to Keystone supporters that he might change his mind.

Landrieu’s move to push a vote on the pipeline within minutes of Congress returning for the lame-duck session was unexpected, and seen as a move to boost her chances in the runoff against Cassidy.

Landrieu said she “didn’t ask for permission” when going to the floor Wednesday evening to request unanimous consent on a vote to pass a bill that approves construction of the pipeline.

“I didn’t tell Democratic leadership what I was going to do,” she said.

The move has been called a “hail-mary pass” by some Republicans, though they are not objecting to the vote.

Republicans have long pushed for approving Keystone, arguing President Obama is stalling on a project that would create jobs and boost the energy sector.

The House passed Cassidy’s bill, which adopted the language from Hoeven and Landrieu’s bill, on Friday in a 252-161 vote.

If the Senate passes that Keystone bill on Tuesday, it would head to President Obama’s desk for a possible veto.

Obama said lawmakers shouldn’t “short circuit” the current process at the State Department for reviewing the project.

“I’ve been clear in the past … and my position hasn’t changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed,”  he said in Burma.

— This story was updated at 2:37 p.m.