House to vote on Keystone XL bill in May

It's expected to pass with full Republican support and the backing of some centrist Democrats who say Keystone will create jobs and bring oil from an ally.

Known as the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), it passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a 24-17 vote last month.

Republicans have accused Obama of delaying a decision on the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which is currently under federal review.

“The Obama administration is preventing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” Cantor said, explaining the Northern Route Approval Act would “ensure that the Keystone XL pipeline is built without any further delay.”

The president is in a prickly position — some unions in his base want to greenlight the project, while environmentalists oppose it. Meanwhile, a majority in both the House and the Senate endorse Keystone.

Most Democrats will resist the measure. They want to block Keystone because they fear it would accelerate production of oil sands — a carbon-intensive fossil fuel — and raise greenhouse gas emissions.

While the measure will probably clear the lower chamber, it faces a tougher path in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Keystone backers can count on a few centrist Democrats for support, but it's unclear whether enough would join Republicans to form a filibuster-proof majority.