Legislation introduced Tuesday in the Senate to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline has 60 co-sponsors, the amount needed for a filibuster-proof majority.
Sens. John HoevenJohn HoevenFive regulations that could come in Obama's final days ND senator calls for remaining Dakota Access protesters to leave Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (R-N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Cybersecurity: Dems split on Manning decision | Assange looking to make deal What we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Manning commutation sparks Democratic criticism MORE (D-W.Va.) introduced the bill, which would immediately greenlight the $8 billion oil sands project.
Hoeven and Manchin said 63 senators have indicated support for the bill, which gives them a comfortable margin as they seek to work through the amendment process and move the legislation to President Obama's desk.
The likely three additional Democrats who have indicated support are Sens. Bob CaseyBob CaseyLive coverage: Senators grill Trump's Treasury pick Live coverage: Tom Price's confirmation hearing Senate Democrats brace for Trump era MORE Jr. (Pa.), Tom CarperTom CarperPruitt says his EPA will work with the states Dems prepare to face off with Trump's pick to lead EPA Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes MORE (Del.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetOvernight Finance: Scoop – Trump team eyes dramatic spending cuts | Treasury pick survives stormy hearing Mnuchin: Debt limit increase important, unclear on 'clean' hike Live coverage: Senators grill Trump's Treasury pick MORE (Colo.), who all voted to approve the Canada-to-Texas pipeline in November.
Hoeven and Manchin said they welcome to amendments the bill offered by the Democratic caucus and pushed Monday by Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Why Democrats fear a successful inaugural address from Trump CBO: 18 million could lose coverage after ObamaCare repeal MORE (D-N.Y.).
“I am encouraged that the Keystone XL pipeline project will come to a vote on the Senate floor as one of the first pieces of legislation for the 114th Congress,” Manchin said. “We have everything to gain by building this pipeline, especially since it would help create thousands of jobs right here at home and limit our dependence on foreign oil."
The outcome of the amendment votes could affect the overall support for the legislation, but new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch Trump takes first official acts at signing ceremony MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to let the process play out. Hoeven said he was told by GOP leadership that a vote on the measure might not come for weeks, due to the open amendment process.
Manchin said he was working on reaching out to the White House about the bill and expected to talk to administration officials later on Tuesday.
The White House on Monday declined to say whether Obama would veto a bill approving Keystone.
"We'll see what the legislation actually includes before we start urging people to vote one way or the other," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, adding that he wanted to "reserve judgment" until the administration could "actually see what language is included in that specific piece of legislation."
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Keystone bill on Wednesday, and a markup on it the following day, setting up Senate vote as early as next week.
Opponents of the pipeline are planning to attend the hearing in full force to protest the Senate vote. Greens have also said they will continue to put pressure on Democrats like Carper and Bennet who recently voted in favor of the pipeline.
Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer slammed Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLast Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB MORE (R-Ohio) and McConnell for making the Keystone bill the first item of business for the new Congress.
“Speaker BoehnerJohn BoehnerLast Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB MORE and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have charted their course. They’ve decided to place support of their Big Oil backers above the interests of the American people—supporting a pipeline that would pump oil through the United States and out to foreign countries around the world," Steyer said.
"The Keystone XL pipeline is a bad deal for the United States and an even worse deal for the future of our children, our environment, and our economy," he added.
Updated at 1:09 a.m.