Senate Passes Bill Approving Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Thune: President is "out of excuses" and needs to sign the bill

The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The 62-36 vote on Thursday advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, which championed the legislation despite a presidential veto threat. Keystone is the first of many battles with the White House over energy and the environment.

The measure fell short of the threshold needed to override a veto. It also needs to be reconciled with the House version.

The bill authorizes construction of the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil primarily from Canada’s tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

Critics argue the $8 billion project would spell disaster for global warming. Supporters call it a jobs bill that would boost energy security.

Republican Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds were two of the 62 senators who voted in favor of sending the bill to President Barack Obama’s desk.

Following the passage of the bill Thune said the president is “out of excuses” and needs to sign the bill. Rounds said the approval of the pipeline is long overdue.