Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats successfully advanced legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline by a 63-32 vote in favour of cloture (a procedure for ending a debate and taking a vote). A final vote on the Keystone bill was announced for Friday.
Democrats plan to use Senate consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to get Republicans on the record about climate change and to resurrect parts of a bipartisan energy efficiency bill doomed by pipeline politics last year.
But Republicans readied additions such as lifting a ban on crude oil exports.
Other possible tweaks could attempt to ban exports of oil sent through the pipeline or force the pipeline's builders to use American-made steel.
Full-blown debate on the bill is expected later today after the Senate agreed 63-32 last night to begin deliberating the measure.
Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner
Sources: The Guardian, ABC News