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