US Senate Democrats blocked immediate consideration of a Republican-favored bill Monday that would permit the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between the United States and Canada.
In the latest episode of partisan bickering triggered by the controversial project, Democrats rallied to obstruct a procedural vote that would have shortened the debate on the bill.
Fifty-three senators voted for the motion and 39 voted against. Sixty votes were required to move the motion forward.
The pipeline would transport crude oil from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada to the US Gulf Coast.
It is opposed by Democrats on environmental grounds, while Republicans have made the lucrative pipeline a priority for the new Republican-controlled Congress.
US President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure.
Stalling the bill’s passage seems temporary at this point since Republicans have control of both legislative houses.