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 MurkowskiImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban 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) ManchinPolitical purity tests are for losers Former coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda MORE (D-W.Va.) voted against the bill. Manchin is a co-sponsor of the legislation with Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBottom Line Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal MORE (R-N.D.)

Ranking member-elect Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellHillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Senate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill Microsoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate 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 SandersRahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary' Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' 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 McConnellFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks 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.