Keystone first item on GOP Senate agenda

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo McConnell-allied group: We'll back Rubio if he runs for reelection MORE (Ky.) announced Tuesday that he will move the Keystone XL oil pipeline as the first order of business in the GOP-controlled Senate next year.


"We'll be starting next year with a job-creating bill that enjoys significant bipartisan support," he said. "The first item up in the new Senate will be the Keystone XL pipeline."

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McConnell said he will give senators an unfettered chance to offer amendments.

He expressed hope that colleagues would pursue energy-related amendments but pledged not to restrict what amendments they offer.

Outgoing Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.), the lead Democratic sponsor of legislation approving Keystone, predicts it will pass next year but get vetoed by President Obama.

“It most certainly is going to pass. The problem is the president will likely veto it and Republicans still don’t have a veto-proof majority,” she said. 

Senate Republicans will control 54 seats in 2015; they need 67 votes to overturn a veto.

Landrieu said Republicans need to pair Keystone authorization with an important Democratic priority to give Obama incentive to sign it into law.

“I would strongly recommend that it get paired with something that the president would not want to veto, like an increase in the minimum wage or potentially a strong bipartisan energy efficiency piece,” she said. 

“It’s going to be all for show because Mitch McConnell knows he doesn’t have the votes to override [a veto,]” she added. 

—This post was updated at 3:18 p.m.