The Republican-led House approved the Keystone XL pipeline for the ninth time on Friday, with the Senate poised to vote on the measure next week in an effort to boost Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s re-election chances.
Approval for the controversial pipeline, which easily passed by a 252-161 vote, comes as Landrieu battles runoff challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who sponsored the House bill. Both candidates are taking credit for influencing the Keystone vote, which is popular in the oil-producing state they represent.
Senate Democrats anxious to help Landrieu are hopeful they have the 60 votes needed to move forward on the legislation that has drawn swift rebuke from some environmental groups. Previous efforts to vote on the pipeline have been blocked in the Democratically controlled Senate.
President Barack Obama reiterated on Friday that a State Department review should be completed once a legal battle over the pipeline’s route in Nebraska is resolved.
The White House has in the past threatened to veto legislation that would bring oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. At a news conference in Myanmar on Friday, Obama pushed back on GOP claims that he is delaying a job creating project.
“Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn't have an impact on US gas prices,” he said.
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-- Andrew Rafferty