A trio of Senate Republicans eyeing the White House in 2016 on Wednesday went on record as saying climate change is not a hoax, but split on the question of whether human activity is causing it.

{mosads}Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) all voted for an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill that said climate change is real. In turn, they all voted against an amendment from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) that said human activity “significantly” contributes to it.

In a third and final amendment vote, Paul backed a provision that said humans contribute to the changing climate. Rubio and Cruz voted no.

All three senators are all weighing presidential bids and eying a tough primary fight in what’s likely to be a crowded GOP field.

The votes could provide fodder for Democratic attacks if any of them win the GOP nomination, or against Rubio if he decides to run for reelection instead in 2016. Rubio has previously expressed skepticism towards the idea that man-caused climate change is settled science.

Paul’s vote on human-caused climate change could wind up being a liability with GOP primary voters, but could help burnish his reputation as a Republican who can appeal to Democrats.

There were some fissures in the GOP, however, in a vote designed by Senate Democrats to put their opponents on the spot. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) split with their party to vote for the amendment.

Kirk and Ayotte may face tough reelection campaigns next year. Kirk has voted in the past in favor of cap and trade legislation, and has a fairly centrist voting record on environmental issues. Alexander, Graham and Collins recently won reelection and have signaled they’re open to working on climate change legislation in the past. Graham has been talking up a potential presidential run, though few think he’ll take the plunge.

Other Republicans facing potentially tough reelection campaigns, including Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), all voted against the amendment.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who in the past has expressed openness to working on climate change legislation, did as well. Murkowski may face a primary challenge in 2014.

The amendment failed by a 50-49 count, with a 60 vote threshold.

— This story was updated at 7:14 p.m. with details on the final amendment vote.

Tags Kelly Ayotte Lamar Alexander Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Marco Rubio Mark Kirk Rand Paul Richard Burr Rob Portman Ron Johnson Susan Collins Ted Cruz

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