The Republican-led Senate failed to override President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL pipeline legislation on Wednesday. The Senate came up with 62 votes to override the veto which was five votes short of the two-thirds needed.
Prior to the vote, US Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-WA) ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said, “I urge my colleagues not to override the President’s veto but to give him the ability to consider our national interests such as the environment and security. I know that some of my colleagues want to rush this process. But who said building a pipeline through the United States of America by a foreign interest should get expedited approval stamped on it from the beginning?”
Even with this set back, Keystone XL pipeline champions vow to battle on for the legislation that would allow TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the US Gulf Coast.
US Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), a major sponsor of the bill, said, “Today the US Senate cast 62 votes to override the president’s veto of our bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline approval legislation, but we needed a supermajority of 67. The Senate action on Keystone comes as we are locked in a battle with OPEC to see who will supply energy to the United States. It also comes just a day after the Prime Minister of Israel cautioned us about Iran’s relentless effort to develop a nuclear weapon in one of the most volatile regions of the world, and the president himself is asking Congress for an Authorization to Use Military Force in the Middle East to combat ISIS.”
Hoeven argues that the Keystone XL pipeline is not only about jobs but also is critical to US national security. He continued, “This project will help us source more energy from the United States and Canada, and less from foreign sources like the Middle East and Venezuela, which detained four North Dakota missionaries last week on the spurious charge of a visa violation. A solid domestic energy plan and infrastructure like the Keystone XL will help prevent any hostile nation from holding us hostage because of oil.”
Senate Republicans are looking at other ways to push the legislation forward such as attaching it to another bill, but they will have an uphill battle.
President Obama did say in a Reuters’ interview earlier this week that he thinks a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will come before the end of his administration.