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 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.) 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 CarperEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Overnight Energy: House votes to reopen Interior, EPA | Dems question EPA over Wheeler confirmation prep | Virginia Dem backs Green New Deal Dems ask why EPA is preparing for Wheeler confirmation during shutdown 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 HoevenDems struggling to help low-wage contractors harmed by shutdown Trump to address nation on wall Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown 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 CoonsSunday shows preview: Washington heads into multi-day shutdown Overnight Energy: Senators introduce bipartisan carbon tax bill | House climate panel unlikely to have subpoena power | Trump officials share plan to prevent lead poisoning Flake to co-introduce bipartisan climate bill 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 NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida 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 BennetCracks beginning to show in GOP shutdown resolve WHIP LIST: Who’s in and out in the 2020 race Would-be 2020 Dem candidates head for the exits 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 UdallSetting the record straight about No Labels Trump calls Kavanaugh accusations ‘totally political’ Record number of LGBT candidates running for governor MORE (D-Colo.)

Udall, who lost his reelection bid to Republican Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOvernight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions 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.