GOP has 60 votes for Keystone

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 HoevenDem senator to meet with Trump Overnight Energy: Dakota pipeline standoff heats up ND senators tell pipeline protesters to vacate camp MORE (R-N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump meets with Dem senator amid Cabinet speculation Overnight Energy: Walden wins Energy gavel | Trump looks at Dems to head Energy, Interior Trump considering Dem senator for Energy secretary: report MORE (D-W.Va.) introduced the bill, which would immediately greenlight the $8 billion oil sands project.

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All 54 Republicans signed on as sponsors, along with six Democrats: Sens. Manchin, Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampTrump meets with Dem senator amid Cabinet speculation Dem senator shares Trump Tower elevator with Naked Cowboy Overnight Energy: Walden wins Energy gavel | Trump looks at Dems to head Energy, Interior MORE (N.D.), Claire McClaskill (Mo.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails Intel Dems push for info on Russia and election be declassified Senate Dems push Obama for info on Russian election interference MORE (Va.), Jon TesterJon TesterRed-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks Montana Republican warns of Senate challenge to Tester Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump MORE (Mont.) and Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyTrump’s vow on Medicare in doubt after HHS choice Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks Red-state Democrat: I'll oppose Trump's health chief MORE (Ind.).

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 CaseySenate passes college anti-Semitism bill Dem senator to Trump: Reject Syria deal with Putin, Assad Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump MORE Jr. (Pa.), Tom CarperTom CarperOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Warren calls for probe of Trump hotel conflicts of interest Dem: Trump must ensure business deals don't violate Constitution MORE (Del.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate passes college anti-Semitism bill Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate 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 SchumerOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Anti-Defamation League: Ellison's past remarks about Israel 'disqualifying' Dems press Trump to keep Obama overtime rule 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 McConnellLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal 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 BoehnerLobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run News Flash: Trump was never going to lock Clinton up MORE (R-Ohio) and McConnell for making the Keystone bill the first item of business for the new Congress.

“Speaker BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run News Flash: Trump was never going to lock Clinton up 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.