J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. McConnell will take over as the new Senate majority leader when the 114th Congress convenes in January. McConnell says approving the Keystone XL pipeline will top the Senate agenda in January. Congressional Republicans have been pushing for approval of the pipeline for years. Obama has resisted because of environmental concerns.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says approving the Keystone XL pipeline will top the Senate agenda in January. The issue could set up an early 2015 veto confrontation with President Barack Obama.

Congressional Republicans have been pushing for approval of the pipeline for years. Obama has resisted because of environmental concerns.

The pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada into the United States and eventually to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Republican-led House has repeatedly passed legislation approving the pipeline. But the bills have died in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Republicans will take control of the Senate in January, and McConnell said approving the pipeline will be the first issue on the agenda.

McConnell said the pipeline would create jobs.