McConnell: Make me majority leader, I'll give you Keystone XL

Marking the sixth anniversary of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline's permit application, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Graham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) teased voters with a preview of what a GOP-controlled Senate would do.

"If American people give us the opportunity to be in a majority next year, I'll be setting the agenda," McConnell said. "It's easier to score if you're on offense, and the majority leader is offensive coordinator."

He added: "If we have a new majority next year, and a new majority leader, the Keystone pipeline will be voted on on the floor of the Senate, something the current majority has been avoiding for literally years."

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The promise should come as no surprise as Republicans have voiced constant frustration with the administration over the $5.4 billion project, which would carry crude from oil sands in Alberta to Gulf refineries.

Republican Sens. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBottom Line Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal MORE (N.D.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon 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 Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal MORE (Alaska), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP senators discuss impeachment with Trump after House vote MORE (Wyo.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges Trump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (S.D.) joined McConnell in marking the anniversary of Keystone's permit, which is currently in limbo at the State Department.

All 45 Republican senators also sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday, calling on him, yet again, to approve the pipeline, which they argue is "shovel-ready."

Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Overnight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges MORE (R-Texas) said, when asked by voters why the pipeline has yet to be approved, that he blames billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer.

"There is no good answer to this other than the ideological blinders that Sen. Barrasso was alluding to and the fact that Tom Steyer will come after any Democrat who votes for this because of his own ideological blinders," Cornyn said.

He added that, if given the majority, Republicans would pass Keystone XL, move on natural gas exports, and "have a robust debate about crude [oil exports] as well."

Environmentalists and liberal Democrats are adamantly opposed to the pipeline, arguing it would significantly contribute to climate change, as well as endangering the environment and homes along the project's route.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Bottom Line Lobbying world MORE (D-Nev.) offered to have a binding vote on Keystone XL earlier this year as long as Republicans joined with Democrats in passing a major energy efficiency bill.

Republicans wouldn't budge, blasting Reid for blocking their energy amendments.