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Senate takes up energy bill amid Keystone squabble

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keystoneWASHINGTON — The Senate has voted to take up a bill that supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline want to use as a vehicle to authorize immediate construction of the proposed pipeline from Canada to the United States.

The 79-20 vote to limit debate on an energy efficiency bill lost much of its significance as the two parties continued to argue over what amendments to allow on the measure, including the pipeline project.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., denied a Republican request for an amendment on the pipeline, but said he is open to a stand-alone vote on a pipeline bill later.

Reid accused Republicans of trying to block the energy bill, which has bipartisan support. Republicans said Reid was backing away from a promise to allow a vote on Keystone.

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