Senate nears 60 on Keystone

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Supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are nearing 60 votes in the Senate ahead of a vote next week on whether to approve the project.

With passage of a pipeline bill in the House all but assured, Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuBottom line A decade of making a difference: Senate Caucus on Foster Youth Congress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face MORE (D-La.) says she is “confident” she can rally the 60 votes needed for a filibuster-proof majority in the upper chamber.

"It is ready for a vote and we have the 60 votes to pass it," Landrieu said on Wednesday.

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The Keystone debate is wrapped up in midterm election politics, with both Landrieu and her opponent in the Louisiana Senate runoff — Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) — taking the lead on legislation. The House is set to vote on Cassidy’s Keystone bill on Friday.

Right now, Keystone supporters have a firm 58 votes in the Senate, 13 of which are from Democrats, after Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe conservative case for phasing out hydrofluorocarbons Democrat asks for probe of EPA's use of politically appointed lawyers Overnight Energy: Study links coronavirus mortality to air pollution exposure | Low-income, minority households pay more for utilities: report MORE (D-Del.) on Thursday said he will vote "yes."

"Enough already, Carper said, when asked Thursday why he is backing the pipeline.

Carper said President Obama should declare victory on the climate deal with China, which he said will have "profound effects" that far outweigh Keystone in the fight on climate change.

"Let's clear the decks" and start talking about other issues, he said.

To reach 60, Landrieu and Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Bottom line Bipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock MORE (R-N.D.), who sponsored the bill, are working overtime to convince on-the-fence Democrats to back the oil sands project.

Hoeven said he is helping Landrieu secure as many votes as possible.

“I thought we would have to wait until the new Congress is seated to have the 60 votes. But if 15 Democrats will join us, we can pass the bill now, and we should,” Hoeven said.

If a Keystone bill passes Congress, it’s unclear whether the president will veto it.

Landrieu said she is confident the bill “could potentially receive the signature of the president of the United States,” but acknowledged she hasn’t received any commitments from the White House.

Press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday said the administration’s “dim view of these kinds of proposals has not changed” when asked about the coming Keystone votes in the House and Senate.

Here are the four Democrats that Keystone supporters are most likely to target in the final push for 60 votes:

Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMurkowski: Supreme Court nominee should not be taken up before election Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates MORE (D-Del.)

In May, when Landrieu and Republicans made a push for a Keystone vote, Coons was a no-go. His spokesman, Ian Koski, said earlier this year that Coons “believes the law makes clear that it’s up to the administration.”

Coons’s office on Thursday said the senator is frustrated with the Keystone review but will vote against the authorization bill next week because it isn't Congres's role to issue construction permits.

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats sound alarm on possible election chaos Trump, facing trouble in Florida, goes all in NASA names DC headquarters after agency's first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson MORE (D-Fla.)

Like Coons, Nelson said he would vote "no" earlier this year on a vote, but he is likely one of the Democrats Landrieu will target when whipping votes for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency Next crisis, keep people working and give them raises MORE (D-Colo.)

It isn’t clear whether Bennet would join Keystone supporters this time around, but earlier this year told The Wall Street Journal he supports the project.

Bennet’s spokesman has not returned requests for comment.

Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic presidential race comes into sharp focus Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump MORE (D-Colo.)

Udall, who lost his reelection bid to Republican Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBillionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Cook Political Report shifts Colorado Senate race toward Democrat MORE (Colo.) last week, stands by his position that the process should be able to run its course, his spokesman, Mike Saccone, said Thursday. Udall believes “Congress should not be injecting politics into the pipeline review process.” 

— This story was lsat updated at 2:18 p.m.