Senate panel approves Keystone bill despite veto threat

WASHINGTON (AP) – A bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a key Senate committee Thursday, setting up a floor debate next week as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on President Barack Obama to rescind his veto threat.
The Energy and Natural Resources committee moved the bill closer to the floor by a 13-9 vote. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a sponsor on the bill, was the only Democrat to support it.

New energy committee chairman Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, noted the bill has Democratic support and came within one vote of passing the Senate last year.

The Keystone pipeline would carry oil from Canadian tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. The House will vote on its version of the bill Friday, and is expected to pass it easily.

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