Keystone backers may stand down in efficiency bill debate

Senate Keystone XL pipeline supporters may steer clear of pushing for a vote on the project if a stalled, bipartisan energy efficiency bill makes its way back to the floor.

Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenDem lawmaker 'confident' bipartisan group will strike deal on border funding Congress in painful start to avoid second shutdown Republicans want Trump to keep out of border talks MORE (R-N.D.) said Tuesday that he’s not sure whether he’ll revive his pro-Keystone amendment if efficiency legislation sponsored by Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Dems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia MORE (D-N.H.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Trade official warns senators of obstacles to quick China deal MORE (R-Ohio) returns.

“It’s a ‘we’ll see’ at this point,” Hoeven told The Hill, later adding that “we may look at another vehicle.” But he emphasized that any decisions will be based on talks with other lawmakers.

The efficiency bill became entangled in battles over ObamaCare and other contentious topics, and Democrats pulled it off the floor in mid-September.

Shaheen, Portman, and the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are seeking a path forward to bring a version of the efficiency bill back to the floor.

Shaheen told The Hill Tuesday that she hopes to avoid a battle over Keystone on the efficiency bill.

“I hope we can do that,” she said. “That hasn’t been determined.”

“[I hope] we can not have an amendment on Keystone because I think it detracts from the focus of the legislation,” Shaheen said in the Capitol.

In September Hoeven and Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLobbying world Former New Orleans mayor: It's not my 'intention' to run for president Dems grasp for way to stop Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE (D-La.) led a group of Republicans and centrist Democrats in pushing to amend the efficiency bill with a pro-Keystone “sense of Congress” resolution.

But it didn’t come up for a vote before the Shaheen-Portman bill was pulled from the floor.

Hoeven suggested Tuesday that if pro-Keystone lawmakers don’t push the amendment on the Shaheen-Portman bill, they could secure agreements for backing on another measure.

“They are working mightily to get this [efficiency] bill across the finish line. That is part of our calculation too,” he said. “So we can be helpful here, then we expect that folks will be helpful as we are trying to get something done.”

The underlying Shaheen-Portman bill that stalled on the floor has provisions to boost commercial building codes, help manufacturers conserve energy, train workers in efficiency technologies, and make federal buildings more efficient.