By Laura Barron-Lopez
Republicans are putting the Keystone XL pipeline at the top of the agenda as they seek to move a stack of legislation to President Obama’s desk in 2015.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised that a vote on approving the $8 billion oil sands project would be his first order of business in the majority, and legislation is set to move quickly in the opening days of the new Congress.
A Senate panel will hold a hearing on legislation to approve construction of the pipeline next week, followed by a markup on Thursday, raising the potential for a final vote in mid-January.
If all goes as planned, Keystone proponents will have the filibuster-proof majority needed to get a bill to Obama, setting the stage for what could be his first veto in the new Republican Congress. But securing a veto-proof majority will be challenging in both the House and the Senate.