UPDATE 1-U.S. Senate moves to debate energy savings bill; Keystone bid stalls

Tue May 6, 2014 6:28pm EDT
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* Increasingly unlikely Senate will vote on Keystone oil pipeline

* Stalemate could kill bipartisan energy bill

* Some Republicans fear Keystone vote would boost Democrat Landrieu (Recasts to reflect stalemate, adds Reid comment)

WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate agreed on Tuesday to advance a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, but it could die unless lawmakers end a stalemate on how to proceed with the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

The Senate voted 79-20 to move toward a debate on the energy bill, making it the first big energy legislation to reach the Senate floor since 2007.

Sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the White House-backed bill would save energy through tougher building codes and by making the federal government install new technologies.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has offered to hold a vote on a separate bill to provide congressional approval of Keystone if Republicans allow passage of the energy measure, a version of which has already passed the House of Representatives.

But Republicans want to add amendments, including one that would take the decision on TransCanada's Corp's Keystone pipeline out of President Barack Obama's hands and give it to Congress.

Late on Tuesday, Republicans reiterated their demand for amendments, and Reid made it clear he does not intend to permit any.   Continued...