Roll Call: How US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Members Voted on Keystone Legislation

Opposition to KXL among American Indians is strong. PHOTO Courtesy: Frank Waln

Opposition to KXL among American Indians is strong. PHOTO Courtesy: Frank Waln

WASHINGTON — On Thursday afternoon the United States Senate voted on legislation to approve the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline by a vote of 63 yea votes to 36 nay votes.

Capitol BuildingThe US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is comprised of 13 members: seven Republicans; six Democrats. The controversial KXL pipeline is generally seen as a partisan issue – with Republicans favoring it and Democrats siding with President Obama’s opposition of it.

In Thursday’s vote, collectively the senators who serve on the Senate on Indian Affairs voted nine to four in favor of the KXL pipeline legislation. All seven Republican senators on the Committee voted in its favor with two Democratic senators crossing party lines to support the measure.

Here is how each voted individually:


John Barrasso, Chairman (Wyoming)                           Yea

John McCain, Member (Arizona)                                  Yea

Lisa Murkowski, Member (Alaska)                                Yea

John Hoeven, Member (North Dakota)                         Yea

James Lankford, Member (Oklahoma)                          Yea

Steve Daines, Member (Montana)                                Yea

Michael Crapo, Member (Idaho)                                   Yea

Jerry Moran, Member (Kansas)                                     Yea


Jon Tester, Vice Chairman (Montana)                           Yea

Maria Cantwell, Member (Washington)                       Nay

Tom Udall, Member (New Mexico)                               Nay

Al Franken, Member (Minnesota)                                 Nay

Brian Schatz, Member (Hawaii)                                    Nay

Heidi Heitkamp, Member (North Dakota)                    Yea

In 2011, the National Congress of American Indians passed a resolution opposing the KXL. American Indians across Indian Country oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The proposed pipeline coming down through the Plains states has caused great concern, particularly among the Lakota in South Dakota. The KXL’s proposed pipeline route is right though the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. It will cross the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System in two places.

The KXL pipeline project is a 1700 mile long crude oil pipeline that would transport between 700,000 to 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day. This pipeline is planned to extend from Alberta, Canada and pass through the states of Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas on its way to the Gulf of Mexico for storage and export overseas.

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