Senate panel cancels Keystone hearing after Dem objections

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThis week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Dem lawmaker spars with own party over prison reform MORE (D-Ill.) objected on Tuesday to a Senate hearing on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was canceled after the objection by Durbin on behalf of fellow Democratic senators.

Robert Dillon, spokesman for Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary Dem rep to launch discharge petition to force net neutrality vote in House MORE (R-Alaska), the chairwoman of the energy committee, said the canceled hearing "does not slow down the Keystone XL floor process."

"Sen. Murkowski was committed to moving legislation through regular committee order and having a robust hearing process. Working with the incoming ranking member, we had lined up witnesses from a labor union and the Center for American Progress (CAP) to testify on the Keystone XL," Dillon said.

"Democrats will no longer have an opportunity to hear that testimony or make statements. We think that’s unfortunate. Meanwhile the floor process on Keystone XL advances," he added.

The move by Durbin signals the deep divide between Republicans and the majority of Democrats who oppose the pipeline.

Hours after Sens. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenGOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress Chao names participants selected for drone pilot program Lobbying World MORE (R-N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump to hold Nashville rally amid efforts to boost GOP Senate hopeful Voters Dems need aren't impressed by anti-waterboarding showboating Overnight Finance: House rejects farm bill in conservative revolt | NAFTA deal remains elusive as talks drag on | Dodd-Frank rollback set for House vote MORE (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation to approve the $8 billion oil sands project, the White House threatened to veto it.

Hoeven said as of Tuesday morning, nine Democrats have thrown their support behind the Keystone bill, including Manchin. Of those nine, six are co-sponsors.

It remains unclear whether the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will still be able to hold its scheduled Thursday markup on the bill.