Heritage: Don't put Keystone amendment on efficiency bill

Heritage’s comments come as Senate Republicans are threatening to offer an amendment to the bill that would green light the Canada-to-Texas oil sands pipeline — a move the bill's supporters fear could derail the legislation.

Senate Republicans have suggested Shaheen-Portman won't clear the GOP-controlled House without Keystone — though Shaheen has rejected that notion. Heritage's comments, though, could portend to a tough road for the bill should it get to the more conservative lower chamber.

"The inevitable result will be cronyism, waste and underwhelming outcomes. There are no sweeteners, including the Keystone pipeline, that would make the bill palatable to conservatives," Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action for America, the group's advocacy arm, told The Hill in an email.

Heritage said passing Shaheen-Portman with Keystone language would be a “Pyrrhic victory,” saying that the bill “promises only more federal intervention and corporate welfare” and that adding Keystone language “wouldn’t make the bill any better.”

Shaheen-Portman would authorize an array of provisions that encourage energy conservation by manufacturers, homeowners, businesses and the federal government.

Scheduled for a tentative vote next week, it would give the Senate the chance to pass its first substantive energy bill since 2007.

Shaheen and Portman are trying to limit controversial amendments to their comprehensive efficiency bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to call a similar version last session because of a potential Keystone provision, among other items.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), however, has pledged to file an amendment calling Keystone’s approval unless President Obama delivers a deadline for ruling on it or the Senate proceeds with a stand-alone vote.

The pipeline is currently under federal review at the State Department. Its builder, TransCanada Corp., needs a cross-border permit to complete its northern leg.

Ben Geman contributed.

— This story was updated at 10:55 a.m.