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Keystone Pipeline passes initial Senate hurdle

Keystone Pipeline passes initial Senate hurdle

But may not have enough votes to override a veto.

Via AP:

Legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared an initial Senate hurdle Monday, a victory for newly empowered Republicans angling for a quick veto showdown with President Barack Obama.

The bipartisan 63-32 vote was 3 more than the 60 required, and well above the level the highly controversial measure ever gained in recent years when Democrats controlled the Senate….

But with more than enough votes at their command, Republican and Democratic supporters said they hoped the legislation could win final approval and be sent to the White House by the end of next week.

“President Obama has every reason to sign the jobs and infrastructure bill that we will pass,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. He noted that the Nebraska Supreme Court had recently rejected a legal challenge brought by opponents, an obstacle the White House had cited.

While this vote was important, backers of the pipeline will need to hold the line when it times to voting to close debate. That’s when the arm-twisting by the White House will get real. But with 60 cosponsors, there may not be much the White House can do to avoid having to issue a veto.

National Journal reports there are not currently enough votes to override a veto, but the open amendment process might help in that regard:

Senators voted 63-32 Monday to move to debate on the bipartisan bill from North Dakota Republican John Hoeven and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin that would force approval of the Alberta-to-Gulf Coast oil-sands pipeline, with nine Democrats and one independent siding with all Republicans. The House passed the bill last week, but the White House has promised to veto it.

The vote clears the way for the much-promised open-amendment process, expected to begin in earnest next week when lawmakers return after the GOP congressional retreat….

Sponsors have said they think the open amendment process would bring enough votes to overcome a presidential veto. Currently there are 60 cosponsors on the bill and another three Democrats have backed the pipeline in the past, short of the 67 needed to overturn the veto. In Monday’s vote, Democrats Michael Bennet, Tom Carper, Bob Casey, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner and Manchin all voted to proceed to the bill. Independent Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats, also voted for to move to the bill.

All these veto threats — obstructionism!


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Go ahead O-punk, make my day.

Phillep Harding | January 12, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Pass it and force him to put his pen where his mouth is. Get him on paper as rejecting it.

1- Pass it.

2- Let him veto it.

3- Try to gather votes to override the veto while making a big fuss about who’s to blame for the lost jobs. Hopefully some D-rats will jump ship.

4- If it still fails to pass, make a big fuss again. What’s to lose?

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | January 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm

I keep hearing people say a veto threat is different from a veto. I think he has every intention of vetoing it because he’s the most partisan political president in my life.

If he vetoes it, he’ll be serving Democrats new paymaster Tom Steyer. With Steyer happy, he and his other eco-zealot moneybag buddies will keep the donations flowing. Besides, Obama knows that the MSM is on the same page as he is regarding Keystone. They will lessen the political impact of his veto by regurgitating Democrat talking points about the pipeline jobs were temporary, few in number, and the pipeline won’t impact fuel prices anyway, blah, blah, blah. The will report the veto, but they will minimize the impact as best they can.

I see no reason why Obama will sign it into law. His priority is making sure Democrats get their grubby paws on the money of Tom Steyer and other billionaire eco-zealots.

He could care less about creating high paying jobs for average working class Americans in states with mostly Republican voters. I may be wrong, but I’ll be shocked if he signs it into law.

    Well you’re definitely wrong.

    Saying Obama is the most partisan President ever means a) you are 6 years old (and have only been alive during his presidency) or b) you just misunderstand our political landscape. Bush had equally low approval ratings (14% approval by Dems, 80% approval by GOP) vs. Obama’s 11% approval by GOP and 82% by Dems – SOURCE (

    Since 2004 our nation’s politics have been increasing polarized, and it is because of how we have conservations about controversial issues. Instead of thoroughly and respectful weighing the pros (increase in jobs, cheaper gas) vs. the cons (potential unquantifiable environmental risks, temporary jobs, costs of project), we portray the opposing side in hyperbolic terms. Dems are arrogant tree-huggers who just want to appease hollywood and Republicans and gun-totting oil tycoons who just want money. Those are ridiculous caricatures that we paint of the other party to undermine the legitimacy of both arguments. The legislative branch is the best at this game.

    These distract from the meaningful conversations that need to take place so that our government makes the best decision with our taxpayers money. So if you have to have THAT type of meaningful conversation, by all means, reply as such. But if you just want to name call, I’m gonna wait till your balls drop and you grow up.

A veto override should be as simple as telling every Dem Senator that a “no” vote on an override will prevent any pork legislation for their state from ever seeing the light of day.

It is refreshing to read about the Senate without seeing or hearing Harry Reid.

I hope it passes.Kudos to the GOP if it does.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to gettimothy. | January 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    We need code names to use whenever we mention Harry Re… him, or Nancy Pe.. her. I love that I never hear the name Keith Olber… him, or Piers Morg… that guy, any more.

    Need code name suggestions for the first two so we never hear their names again either.

I haven’t read any news on Mandy for some time…has anyone heard how she is progressing?

A veto override wouldn’t work. He’ll argue separation of powers. The pipeline is dead under this President, and not just because oil prices are low.

May not have enough votes to over ride a veto, McConnell? You better get them then.

    Milhouse in reply to betty. | January 13, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Um, how? You do realise, don’t you, that those votes he needs belong to Democrats, who have no reason to give him their votes?

So what if he lets it go through and then uses the EPA to kill the project by burying it under paperwork and fees?

    Not that he’ll even let it get that far, but it’d be status quo ante: the project is dead until at least the next President. Since the pipeline is not a significant economic asset with oil prices this low, the real twin purposes served are looking good with the environmentalist lobby and jabbing a hot poker in Canada’s eye over and over again. Just because.

Rename the bill the “green shoots, recovery summer, shovel ready jobs for the most vulnerable among us bill of 2015” before passing it.