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 HoevenGOP considers keeping ObamaCare taxes Senators want governors involved in health talks Republicans go to battle over pre-existing conditions MORE (R-N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinZinke hits Dems for delaying Interior nominees Manchin faces primary challenge from the left Sessions sequel falls flat following Comey drama 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 HeitkampSenate Dem undecided on 2018 reelection run Trump ‘regulatory czar’: Two-for-one rule can work Congress should just say no to more green energy handouts MORE (N.D.), Claire McClaskill (Mo.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerDonna Brazile: Congress has duty to halt Trump on Russia sanctions Lawmakers told of growing cyber threat to election systems DHS official: Russia targeted election-related systems in 21 states MORE (Va.), Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Trump's 'regulatory czar' advances in Senate Gianforte causes stir after becoming newest House member MORE (Mont.) and Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyLawmakers sport LSU gear at baseball game in honor of Scalise Senate votes to continue arming Saudis As Yemenis suffer the consequences Overnight Defense: Mattis defends Trump budget | Senate rejects effort to block Saudi deal | Boeing to cut 50 executive jobs 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 CaseyLive coverage: Senate Dems hold talkathon to protest GOP health plan Ryan Phillippe to visit Capitol Hill to advocate for military caregivers Dem senators seize on Senate press crackdown MORE Jr. (Pa.), Tom CarperTom CarperOvernight Energy: Lawmakers challenge Trump's proposed EPA cuts Overnight Energy: Tillerson maintains support for Paris deal despite Trump decision Overnight Regulation: FDA puts new nutrition labels on hold MORE (Del.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Trump welcomes Gorsuch on first Supreme Court visit Why higher education is in need of regulatory relief 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 SchumerFCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases Trump: Pelosi's leadership good for the GOP Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill 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 McConnellRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism Sanders: I hope McConnell listened to protesters outside his office 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 BoehnerJuan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report The new dealmaking in Congress reveals an old truth: majority wins MORE (R-Ohio) and McConnell for making the Keystone bill the first item of business for the new Congress.

“Speaker BoehnerJohn BoehnerJuan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report The new dealmaking in Congress reveals an old truth: majority wins 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.