Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett voted Thursday to close debate on the Keystone XL pipeline bill, moving the legislation closer to a final vote. Eight other Democrats joined him, Roll Call reported.
The bill would authorize construction of the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil primarily from Canada's tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. The bill has 60 sponsors — enough to pass, but not enough to override a veto.
The move defies a veto threat and sets up the first battle with the White House over energy and the environment.
The Senate plans to vote later Thursday. It's the first measure taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate, and one of the first to draw a veto threat from the president.
Critics argue the $8 billion project would spell disaster for global warming. Supporters call it a jobs bill that would boost energy security.