Senate passes Keystone pipeline bill

The Senate passed a bill authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The bill now moves on to a conference committee to reconcile differences with the House bill that was passed earlier this month.

Nine Democrats joined all Republicans who were present in voting for the bill.  However, President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation, and it appears that pro-pipeline forces in the Senate are going to come up a little short in being able to override the president's action.

Washington Free Beacon:

Democrats are certain they can block an attempt to override an eventual Obama veto. The pipeline's supporters were four votes shy Thursday of the 67 needed to overturn a veto.

"It's pretty clear that there are not the votes to override the bill in the House or the Senate," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters at a press conference in the Capitol.

Republicans weren't ready to concede defeat. But Hoeven said he believed Obama might approve the project if it is wrapped into broader energy legislation or a spending bill.

Hoeven noted Obama signed a 2012 bill that temporarily extended a payroll tax cut that included a directive to approve or deny TransCanada Corp.'s application for a cross-border permit to build the northern portion of its 1,700-mile pipeline. Obama rejected the permit, and TransCanada refiled.

"We do have precedent of attaching it to something and having him sign the bill," Hoeven told reporters.

Republicans and centrist Democrats have touted Keystone XL as a jobs bill. They noted the State Department's final environmental review said the pipeline would add 42,100 direct and indirect jobs during the two-year construction phase. The review also said Keystone XL would not significantly harm the environment.

"After dropping his scheme to tax middle-class college savings, we hope President Obama will now drop his threat to veto this common-sense bill that would strengthen our energy security and create thousands and thousands of new, good-paying American jobs," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

A federal review of the project has been going on for six years – a delay engineered by the Obama administration because approval of the project would alienate his radical green base, who never met a fossile fuel project they didn't hate.  The clock will run out on the Obama administration before that "review" sees the light of day.

Nose counters in the Senate are not optimistic they can find four additional Democratic votes to override the president's veto.  If Obama goes ahead and scuttles the project, voters will know for certain who is the obstructing party for this jobs creation bill.

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