*President Obama pulled out his veto pin for a bill Tuesday that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, following through on his vow to reject a proposal embraced by Republicans as a jobs measure but opposed by environmentalists as contributing to climate change.
The 1,179-mile pipeline would connect tar sands cruse oil in Alberta Canada with an existing pipeline in Nebraska, allowing energy company TransCanada to pump 830,000 barrels a day to refineries in the Midwest and the Gulf Coast.
“The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously,” Obama said in his veto message. “But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”
It’s only the third veto of his presidency, but likely to be the first in a series of vetoes as he faces a Republican-controlled Congress in the last two years of his presidency. The White House has already issued 13 formal veto threats so far this year — the most ever at this point in a new Congress since President Reagan first started issuing written veto threats in 1985.
Obama vetoed the Keystone bill shortly after it arrived at the White House from the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had held up its transmittal so that Congress could be in session when it went to the president.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president vetoed the bill almost as soon as it arrived at the White House, “without any drama or fanfare or delay.”
An override of the Keystone veto is unlikely. The bill passed the House 270-152 and the Senate 62-36, margins well short of the two-thirds majorities needed to override. McConnell said a veto override vote will be scheduled by March 3.