Senate panel advances Keystone bill in 13-9 vote

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday passed legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a 13-9 vote, setting up a vote in the full chamber as early as next week.

The bill will be brought to the floor to begin an open amendment process by Monday or Tuesday.

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Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSchumer urges GOP to oppose Trump's intel pick Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Murkowski, Manchin introduce major energy legislation MORE (R-Alaska), the panel's incoming chairwoman, condemned the administration for vowing to block legislation that would green light the $8 billion oil sands project 

"There is already a veto threat out there, but I don't think it should deter us," Murkowski said. "The country, but also the world, is watching the United States to see if we are ready to lead as a global energy superpower."

All Democrats on the committee minus Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Murkowski, Manchin introduce major energy legislation The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate MORE (D-W.Va.) voted against the bill. Manchin is a co-sponsor of the legislation with Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenGOP, Democrats hash out 2020 strategy at dueling retreats Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle Bottom Line MORE (R-N.D.)

Ranking member-elect Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThree lessons from BIPA for data privacy legislation Swing votes steal spotlight in marathon Trump impeachment Q&A Hillicon Valley: UK allows Huawei to build 5G in blow to Trump | Lawmakers warn decision threatens intel sharing | Work on privacy bill inches forward | Facebook restricts travel to China amid virus MORE (D-Wash.) questioned Republicans' move to "prematurely intervene" in the permitting process by pushing the bill to the floor despite the veto threat.

"What is the emergency here for Congress to usurp process?" Cantwell asked.

She called the bill a "sweetheart deal" from Congress and said she would propose an amendment that requires corporations to pay into an oil spill trust fund.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMSNBC's Chris Matthews confuses South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate with GOP's Tim Scott Trump surveys South Carolina supporters on preferred Democratic opponent Watch live: Trump holds a rally in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.) also offered an amendment that would record a sense of the Congress on climate change.

"It's simple, do we agree with the international scientific community that climate change is real, or do we not?" Sanders asked.

The measure is an attempt by Democrats to put Republicans on the record about their beliefs on climate change.

It and all other amendments were tabled by the committee to be brought up during debate when the bill comes to the chamber floor next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Washington, Wall Street on edge about coronavirus Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding MORE (R-Ky.) called on the president to rethink his veto threat, after the Keystone bill passed out of committee.

"If the president is serious about supporting bipartisan infrastructure projects, he will reverse his veto threat and support these American jobs," McConnell said in a statement.

The White House argues the legislation would circumvent the ongoing State Department review of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which is on hold due to litigation in Nebraska that questions the route of the pipeline.