Fueled by the competition in the last undecided Senate race of 2014, both houses of Congress are preparing to hold votes that could greenlight the Keystone XL oil pipeline.The moves come as Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy are locked in a runoff election in Louisiana, a state where the project is hugely popular.
Landrieu, who currently serves as the head of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, pushed aggressively for a vote Wednesday, speaking on the Senate floor and at a press conference on Capitol Hill. That vote, now scheduled for as early as next Tuesday, will need 60 votes to move forward.
Within an hour of Landrieu’s push on the Senate floor, House leaders announced plans to hold a vote Thursday on a Keystone XL pipeline measure authored by Cassidy.
The Louisiana Democrat insists that the move doesn’t have to do with politics, and she says she’s happy to have Cassidy’s name on the measure if it passes both houses and goes to the president’s desk.
“If taking my name off of this bill helps it pass, go right ahead,” Landrieu said, surrounded by reporters. “This is not about the credit, this is not about the glory, it is not about politics. It is about getting our work done.
Progress on the project has been delayed by political angst over the pipeline, which environmental activists say would contribute to carbon pollution. The Obama administration has been reviewing the impact of the construction.
The Louisiana runoff is scheduled for December 6.