Senate to vote on passage of Keystone XL pipeline proposal

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Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A bipartisan bill to approve the controversial and long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline cleared a key procedural hurdle Thursday when senators voted to end debate on the measure.

The motion passed 62 to 35, with nine Democrats joining with Republicans to get it beyond the 60 votes required.

Some of those Democrats blocked a similar vote Monday following a spat with Republicans over how many amendments would get votes. That issue was resolved when GOP leaders allowed more amendments.

A vote on passage is planned for later Thursday.

For many years, debate over construction of the pipeline, which will link Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, has pitted environmentalists against the energy industry.

The bill would need to be reconciled with the House version, and President Barack Obama has promised to veto the legislation as his administration continues a formal review of the project.