Senate set to vote Wednesday on 18 Keystone amendments

The Senate will begin a second marathon session on Wednesday, voting on 18 amendments to legislation that would approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.


The vote-a-thon, set to kick off on Wednesday afternoon, includes amendments on campaign finance, Alaska wilderness and removing the lesser prairie-chicken from the threatened species list.

Votes could go late into the evening, and there are more amendments pending after the 18 scheduled Wednesday.

“It is now time to get through the remaining amendments and vote up or down on passage of this bill before we leave for the week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWashington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor.

“We expect this bipartisan bill to finally pass the Senate,” he added. “We expect the filibuster of good American jobs to soon come to an end.”

He argued the legislation would “pump billions into our economy” and support “thousands of jobs” with minimal environmental impact.

McConnell urged President Obama to back away from the veto threat he leveled at the GOP bill.

“We hope he’ll sign Keystone’s jobs into law. The president should expect more good ideas to head his way, too,” he said.

The series comes after Democrats filibustered a move by McConnell to end debate on the underlying bill and proceed to final passage on Monday.

The return to regular order has stretched out the debate over the $8 billion oil sands pipeline into its fourth week.

The Senate has already voted on 24 amendments to the bill — more, Republicans tout, than all those voted on last year under the Democratic majority.

Among the measures up for votes Wednesday is one from Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package MORE (D-R.I.) that would require campaign finance disclosures from companies benefitting from the Alberta oil sands.

Whitehouse has made clear he wants the amendment to shine light on "dark money" coming from conservative donors Charles and David Koch and fossil fuel companies.

An amendment from Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Senate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney MORE (R-Alaska) is also set to get a vote.

That measure is retaliation against the recent actions by the administration to protect more of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Arctic waters from oil and gas development. The amendment would free up areas like ANWR and others that have been designated by the federal government as wilderness regions to potential drilling.

Another measure from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Seth Rogen says he's not in a feud with 'fascist' Ted Cruz, whose 'words caused people to die' GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump MORE (R-Texas) would speed the approval of facilities that export liquefied natural gas.

Cruz originally wanted to propose an amendment that would lift the decades-old crude export ban but scrapped it. A number of Republicans were hesitant to put such a controversial measure on the bill, as many lawmakers have yet to weigh in on where they stand on the ban.

Other votes in the series include ones on climate change and the designation of national monuments. Keystone proponents are eager to move on to final passage of the bill by the end of this week, but no agreement has been reached to bring an end to debate.

The final vote will likely be pushed into next week, meaning the new Congress would spend an entire month on the controversial Canada-to-Texas pipeline.

— Alexander Bolton contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:06 a.m.