Republicans Have the Votes in the Senate To Pass Keystone

57 votes in favor of Keystone before the election to at least 61 after Tuesday's election, making it filibuster proof
Republican gains in the Senate have given Keystone XL supporters a filibuster-proof majority to pass a bill approving construction of the controversial pipeline.

Before Tuesday’s election, supporters had 57 votes in the Senate in support of Keystone, including a dozen Democrats. After Republicans picked up seven Senate seats (and counting) in Tuesday's election, the vote count for Keystone had ballooned to 61.

GOP Sen.-elects Mike Rounds (S.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) Cory Garnder (Colo.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa) are all Keystone backers.

"The election of several pro-Keystone Senators puts the passage of Keystone that much closer and shows energy projects like Keystone is a priority for our country," Ryan Bernstein, Sen. John Hoeven's (R-N.D.) chief of staff, told The Hill on Wednesday.

"We will be working with Senator [Mitch] McConnell (R-Ky.) to get a vote on the floor shortly after the new Congress is seated," Bernstein added.

A Republican Senate could pass a clean Keystone bill outright, or tether approval of the oil sands pipeline to a must-pass spending bill or broader energy package. The latter would make it harder for President Obama to veto the pipeline