Energy & Environment

WHIP LIST: How senators will vote on Keystone XL pipeline

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Senate fault lines on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline appear set as lawmakers move to a final vote on authorizing the controversial energy project.

{mosads}The upper chamber is expected to approve the bill but fall short of the 67 votes needed to override President Obama’s threatened veto.

Sixty-three senators — the entire 54-member GOP conference and nine Democrats — are widely expected to vote in favor of building the pipeline.

Thirty-five Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party are widely expected to oppose it.

Within those 37 “no” votes, there are perhaps four members who could switch sides. Few believe they will, but the numbers bear watching as the debate continues.

Here is where senators stand:



(54 Republicans, 9 Democrats)


Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) — Voted to advance the bill and begin debate. Also voted to approve Keystone in November 2014.

Sen. Tom Carper (Del.) — Voted to advance the bill and begin debate. An aide said he is expected to vote yes on final passage.   

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) — Voted to advance the bill and begin debate.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) — Co-sponsor of the Keystone bill.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) — Co-sponsor of the Keystone bill.

Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — Co-sponsor of the Keystone bill.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) — Co-sponsor of the Keystone bill.

Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) — Co-sponsor of the Keystone bill.

Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) — Co-sponsor of the Keystone bill.


REPUBLICANS: All GOP senators are co-sponsors of the Keystone bill.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) — In a letter to Obama, wrote, “there is simply no reason whatsoever for you to not move forward with a pipeline.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.)

Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.)

Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.)

Sen. John Boozman (Ark.)

Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) — Burr said “it’s inexplicable that Senate Democrats and the president continue to block legislation supported by the State Department … and a strong majority of Americans.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.) — Also proposed Keystone legislation while serving in the House.

Sen. Dan Coats (Ind.)

Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.)

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) — Has called Keystone a “matter of national security” because it would “reduce our reliance on oil from volatile regions of the world.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) – Said Obama would be “really smart” to compromise on Keystone.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.)

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas)

Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.)

Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho)

Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) — Also trying to push amendment that would end a 40-year oil export ban.

Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) — “I’m proud to have cast my first vote in the U.S. Senate on legislation to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” Daines recently wrote on his Facebook page.

Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.)

Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa) — Freshman senator touted her support for Keystone on the campaign trail.

Sen. Deb Fischer (Neb.) — Following the Nebraska Supreme Court’s approval of the Keystone pipeline, Fischer said “that it is time for the president to step up and make a decision.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.)

Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) — “It’s long past time that construction on this important energy project was started, and I’m proud to make authorizing this project one of my first actions as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” Gardner said after his vote.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) — Earlier this week, Graham said Democrats need to pick their “battles wisely,” citing Keystone.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa)

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah)

Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.)

Sen. John Hoeven (N.D.) — Introduced the new Keystone bill but concedes supporters might be short of a veto-proof majority.

Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.)

Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.)

Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.)

Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.)

Sen. James Lankford (Okla.)

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — “President Obama has every reason to sign the jobs and infrastructure bill that we will pass,” McConnell said earlier this month.

Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — “We would like to see this pipeline moving, but we’ve got to get it through this body,” said Murkowski, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.)

Sen. David Perdue (Ga.)

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) — Also working with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to introduce an amendment to the Keystone bill “that would improve energy efficiency in buildings.”

Sen. Jim Risch (Idaho)

Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.)

Sen. Mike Rounds (S.D.) — Support for Keystone was a central point in freshman senator’s campaign.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.)

Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.)

Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.)

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.)

Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.)

Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska)

Sen. John Thune (S.D.)

Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.)

Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) — Toomey also supports amendments “to eliminate counterproductive ethanol fuel mandates, end taxpayers’ multidecade subsidies of wind-generated electricity and to encourage the federal government to use natural-gas-burning vehicles.”

Sen. David Vitter (La.)

Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.)



(32 Democrats, 1 Independent)

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) — Voted against advancing Keystone bill. Also voted against Keystone in November 2014.

Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) — Voted against advancing Keystone bill. Also voted against Keystone in November 2014.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.) — Said Keystone “XL” stands for “extra lethal.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) — Statement on website says he believes “professionals should make decisions about pipeline routes and is concerned over any plan that could increase oil prices in the Midwest.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.) — Is offering an amendment that would require companies to pay into an oil spill trust fund but expected to vote “no” on the final bill.

Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) — Voted against advancing Keystone bill.

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) — No. 2 Democrat in upper chamber forced Senate panel to cancel Keystone hearing.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) — Has major environmental concerns over project.

Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) — Voted against the bill because he does not “believe Congress should circumvent the regular permitting process for this infrastructure project.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.) — “We have a small and closing window to avoid the economically disastrous impacts of climate change. My vote against legislation to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline reflects that reality,” he said in a statement.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) — Believes the bill “would only further our country’s addiction to fossil fuels instead of developing a long term strategy to address sustainable energy practices.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — Has raised environmental concerns, saying, “We should not rubberstamp a project like this that poses such serious risks to the nation’s and the world’s environment, and to our communities’ safety.”

Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.) — Filed an amendment to the bill Monday to bar exports of oil moved through the pipeline. “All oil and refined product derived from the Canadian tar sands transported through the Keystone pipeline would stay in the United States,” the measure reads.

Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) — Voted against advancing the bill, stating, “the rewards of moving forward with Keystone XL simply do not outweigh the risks.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) — Opposes Keystone because of effects on climate change.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.)

Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) — Says Senate should focus on energy legislation with bipartisan support.

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) — Vowed to “oppose any effort in Congress that ignores or brushes aside the environmental consequences of our actions.”

Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) — Nelson’s office says he will vote against the bill.

Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.)

Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Offering amendment asking if climate change is really happening. Has encouraged Obama to block the project.

Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) — Has also proposed an energy efficiency amendment to the bill.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) — Proposed five amendments to the bill.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — “Who does this new Republican Congress work for — foreign oil companies or the American people?” Warren asked last week.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) — Says “the bill would set a dangerous precedent by undermining the administration’s authority to ensure the project is in our national interest.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) — Has cited environmental risks in opposing Keystone. Introduced two amendments to the bill that would make oil companies pay for cleaning spills and would ensure money from energy projects on federal lands goes to taxpayers.



(3 Democrats, 1 Independent)

Sen. Chris Coons (Del.) — Has raised environmental objections to the project, saying it would release “some of the dirtiest sources of energy on the planet.” In November, Landrieu thought he would vote for her Keystone bill and lobbied him strongly before falling short. Has said he is frustrated by the review process.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) — Voted to begin debate but will likely vote against final passage. Republicans, though, hope to win over the independent senator. He voted “no” in November’s Keystone vote. At the time, he said Congress should not be legislating the approval of “a construction project.”

Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.) — Is offering an amendment to require a study of health effects from use of petroleum coke. Is from a state that is a stronghold for labor, which has pushed to approve the project.

Sen. Tom Udall (N.M.) — Voted to begin debate but has stated his opposition to Congress circumventing the review process before.

—This post was originally published on Jan. 15 and last updated on Jan. 29 at 2:04 p.m. 

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