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House Expediting Vote on Cassidy's Keystone Pipeline Bill (Updated) (Video)

The House is preparing to vote on a Keystone Pipeline bill from Cassidy, shown here on the campaign trail earlier this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:27 p.m. |  In a bid to help their Republican colleague Bill Cassidy of Louisiana bolster his Senate chances, Republicans in the House are moving forward with a bill that would once again approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  

Cassidy, who is currently in a runoff election with Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, is the sponsor of the legislation. And aides say Cassidy's bill is the same as a bill before the Senate.  

The House Rules Committee will meet on the bill Wednesday night, and a vote on the measure looks like it will occur Thursday, aides said.

The pipeline has become the new political football of the moment, with Landrieu and Cassidy both aiming to show their support for the project. Landrieu came to the Senate floor on Wednesday and announced her support for an immediate vote.  

"This has been a project that has lingered far too long," she said.  

Cassidy and House Republicans, not to be outdone, are rushing to hold their own vote now.  

"The House has passed legislation to expedite the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline eight times," Cassidy said in a release on Wednesday. "The Senate did not consider any of the eight. I will now pass a bill identical to the bill the Senate is said to consider to push this issue forward."  

Cassidy noted that if the Senate passes the bill, it can go straight to the president's desk for signature. "It is easy to wonder if the Senate is only considering this because of politics, even so, I hope the Senate and the President do the right thing and pass this legislation creating thousands of jobs," he said. "When I'm on the Senate Energy Committee next year, I will work to ensure the President follows the law and allows the construction of this pipeline."  

The bill, which is only two-and-a-half pages, is more narrow than earlier House-passed measures. It does not include provisions addressing federal permits for so-called Rights of Way permits from the Bureau of Land Management, and it doesn't include permits for migratory birds, the Clean Water Act section regulating the discharge of dredged waters, or the Endangered Species Act protections for the American Burying Beetle.  

The pipeline is designed to carry oil sands from Canada to Texas, and it has long been on a Republican wishlist of items. But Democrats and the president have argued that it would not significantly increase jobs and would significantly affect the environment. The project has long been held up in Congress and in courts and is unlikely to be completed anytime before the Obama presidency ends.  

Sarah Chacko contributed to this report. Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.