In addition to Keystone, Republican senators have prepared a host of amendments to the energy bill, including one that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Lawmakers from both parties also support a measure to speed approval of terminals to export liquefied natural gas.
"The American people deserve a real debate on how we can best tap our own extraordinary natural resources to achieve energy independence at home and how we can help our allies overseas through increased exports of American energy. But we can't move forward if the Democrats who run the Senate keep trying to protect the president at the expense of serving their constituents," McConnell said.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., one of the bill's co-sponsors, said the measure was an affordable approach to boost energy efficiency, which she said is the best way to save money on energy use.
"Energy efficiency is no longer about putting on a sweater and lowering the thermostat. It's about the technologies that can reduce energy use," she said.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the bill does not include mandates but merely encourages homes and businesses to increase efficiency.
"The least expensive form of energy is the energy we don't end up having to use," he said.
Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC