In a surprising twist, both chambers of Congress will finally hold a vote in the near future on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline proposal.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the sudden change in voting on the Keystone legislation stems from the still undecided Louisiana Senate race between incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and challenger Bill Cassidy (R), who is currently a representative of Louisiana in the U.S. House.
On the first day of the lame duck Congress Wednesday, Sen. Landrieu was among the senators who took to the Senate floor to voice her support for the pipeline. Landrieu also used her time on the floor to praise the spirit of bipartisanship, a sentiment voiced in speeches made by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
According to the AP, the House will vote on identical Keystone legislation. Rep. Cassidy is a co-sponsor of the House Keystone bill. Sen. Cornyn offered an amendment early Wednesday evening to the Senate proposal, saying that if the House does indeed pass the same exact bill as the Senate, the Senate should then pass the House bill as is (if the bills were different, members of each chamber would have to meet and try to hash out the differences, which could delay a final passage). The bill needs at least 60 votes to pass the Senate.
If signed into law, the Keystone XL Pipeline would transport oil into the U.S. from Canada. The pipeline would reach as far south as Texas. Opponents of the pipeline argue that while it would create jobs, it would also harm the environment. Due to President Obama’s focus on green energy, it is not yet known if the president would sign the bill if it reached his desk.
The Senate could vote on the proposal by Tuesday.