WASHINGTON — There are likely enough votes in the Senate to approve the Keystone XL pipeline after the sweeping Republican success in Tuesday’s election, an outcome that could decide the fate of one the biggest debates in decades over jobs and the environment.

There now appear to be 61 votes in favor of approving Keystone, including those of several Democrats, enough to overcome a filibuster by opponents.

While it’s not enough to overcome a veto by President Barack Obama, congressional approval would put huge pressure on Obama as he weighs climate change concerns against charges that he’s blowing a chance for the economy and energy development.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, who’s been the leader of the GOP in the Senate and now is expected to be the new majority leader, said Keystone will be a top priority once the party takes control in January.

“The Keystone pipeline will be voted on the floor of the Senate, something the current majority has been avoiding for literally years,” the Kentucky Republican said on the campaign trail.

McConnell reiterated his intentions Wednesday, saying, “The employment figures connected with Keystone are stunning, if we would just get going.”

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives already has passed legislation to approve the pipeline and is expected to do so again, paving the way for Senate action.

Obama would certainly risk blowback if he vetoed the Keystone approval, because polls show a significant majority of Americans support construction of the pipeline.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus said Tuesday that he doubts Obama would veto it.

“I actually think the president will sign the bill on the Keystone pipeline because I think the pressure, he’s going to be boxed in on that, and I think it’s going to happen,” Priebus said in an appearance on MSNBC.

If Obama does decide to veto pipeline approval, the Republicans could attempt to get enough votes to override the veto by making deals to get more Democrats on board and including it as part of other legislation that members of Congress believe must pass.

Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, suggested Wednesday the Obama administration might go ahead and approve the pipeline before the Republicans take power in January in order to “rob the GOP of an early-session victory lap.”

“Or, less cynically, as an olive branch to the new Republican leadership,” Book said in a research note.

The Obama administration has delayed making a decision on the pipeline, most recently citing the need to wait for a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling on the route.

A court decision is expected later this year. In the meantime the issue sits with Obama’s State Department, which needs to decide whether the pipeline is in the national interest because it crosses the border with Canada.