The newly seated Republican Senate is moving forward in getting a bipartisan bill that would approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline passed. With the White House’s take on energy and the environment, this move not only defies a threat of veto but sets the foundation for the first major Senate battle.
Today, there are plans for the Senate to vote on the pipeline bill. This is important because it is the first issue the Republican-controlled Senate is presenting and a move that is likely to get President Obama’s veto. Currently, there are 60 sponsors for the bill, which is enough to get it passed but under the required number to override a possible veto.
If the XL Pipeline bill is passed, construction of an almost 1,200 mile pipeline would be authorized. Once completed, the pipeline would have capacity to carry oil mainly from the tar sands of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast.
While there are a lot of supporters for the bill, critics claim the pipeline would prove disastrous for global warming. On the other hand, the $8 billion project stresses that the pipeline would create jobs and boost energy security, which has been a concern for some time due to unrest overseas.
Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky and Senate Majority Leader announced that he expects the bill to pass today. He said that there will be two stacks of votes pertaining to the Keystone Pipeline bill. However, bringing the bill to a final up or down vote earlier in the week was blocked by Democrats, saying McConnell had not provided adequate opportunities for amendments to be voted on.
To discuss those very concerns, 11 roll call votes were taken, which McConnell cited as being a huge breakthrough for a chamber that has long been gridlocked over the last four years. The additional 12 plus roll call votes taken specific to the amendment indicated more than twice the amendment votes permitted or offered in 2014 were taken on this single issue by the Senate.
Because of that, the debate over the Keystone XL Pipeline bill is clear proof that the new Senate is ready, willing, and able to work hard for middle-class Americans, even when faced with major opposition. Tomorrow morning, five or six more votes will be held on the amendment, with another five or six that same afternoon.