The Senate voted 63-32 on Monday to begin debate on the Keystone XL pipeline and to entertain amendments, a rash of which are already in the works.
The House approved its version of the Keystone bill late last week.
Senators from both side of the aisle declared they would introduce amendments to the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to permit an open amendment process for the bill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an Independent, will propose an amendment to record a sense of the Congress on global warming, The Hill reported
"It's simple," Sanders said, "do we agree with the international scientific community that climate change is real, or do we not?" He wants to force the bill's supporters to say where they stand on the relationship between human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, Politico reported.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, told reporters: "We want to have folks on the record" about global warming.
Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is up for re-election in 2016, told Politico that he had been given to understand that — McConnell's promise notwithstanding — the Sanders amendment would not be voted upon.
A Kirk vote against the Sanders amendment
could prove problematic in a state that went for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Meanwhile, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz planned to introduce an amendment that would lift the ban on the export of U.S. oil, Politico
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — both possible GOP presidential contenders along with Cruz — as well as Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among those on record as favoring an end to the export ban.
It is not clear if they would vote for a Cruz amendment tied to Keystone. The first round of voting on amendments is not likely to begin until next week, Politico said.
Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, plans to introduce an amendment requiring utilities to generate a quarter of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, is drafting an amendment dealing with petroleum coke
, a refinery byproduct, Politico reported.
Other Democrats are expected to present amendments demanding that companies moving oil through the Keystone pipeline contribute to the federal oil spill liability trust fund.
Another amendment would prohibit the export of Keystone oil. Yet another would promote solar energy, Politico reported.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio wants to tack on a version of his energy-efficiency bill that aims to save energy by enforcing tougher building codes. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado
would introduce his energy-savings plan geared at contractors doing work for the federal government.
The White House says the president will likely veto any Keystone bill. Republicans do not, at present, have enough Democratic votes to overcome the threatened veto, according to Politico.
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