The House went on record Friday to insist that lawmakers negotiating a bicameral transportation programs funding bill include approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
The non-binding 261-152 vote signals political support for the pipeline in the lower chamber, but fewer Democrats went on record this time as supporting the project in the transportation bill.
Twenty-six Democrats voted Friday for Rep. John BarrowJohn BarrowDem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech The best and the worst of the midterms MORE’s (D-Ga.) motion to instruct negotiators to uphold the House-approved language that authorizes the pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries.
However, a number of Democrats said at the time that they had voted for the bill as a way to enable House-Senate negotiations to begin.
The Senate’s version of the transportation bill omits approval of the Keystone pipeline.
The White House has threatened to veto the House version of the bill, claiming more time is needed to review TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline, a project at the heart of election-season battles over energy policy.
The 261 backers for Barrow’s motion signal that Keystone supporters don’t have the votes to override a presidential veto.
Rep. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Tech: GOP chairman to propose high-skilled visa overhaul | Zuckerberg's 5,700 word letter | Tech lobbies gear up ahead of internet fight Senate Dem blasts GOP for trying to repeal broadband privacy rules Judge orders release of EPA nominee’s emails MORE (D-Mass.) after the vote dismissed the resolution as political posturing by Keystone supporters, saying it “put an exclamation point” on the GOP’s well-known support for the pipeline.
Markey, who opposes the pipeline, said there is a “very small” chance the Keystone pipeline would find its way into the final highway bill. He called Friday's vote good for Democrats, noting that Barrow's motion drew fewer Democratic supporters than the overall transportation bill that included the pipeline.
The House also approved a motion to instruct House conferees to accept Senate language that includes various "Buy American" provisions. That motion, from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking member Nick RahallNick RahallWest Virginia is no longer Clinton country Solution needed: Rail congestion is stifling economic growth Lobbying World MORE (D-W.Va.), passed 245-169.
— Pete Kasperowicz and Andrew Restuccia contributed
— Updated at 1:22 p.m.