CORRECTED-White House threatens veto of bill to bypass Obama on Keystone

Wed May 22, 2013 10:24am EDT

(Corrects to 67 from 60 the votes needed in Senate to overcome presidential veto)

By Ros Krasny

WASHINGTON May 21 (Reuters) - The White House has threatened to veto legislation pending in the U.S House of Representatives that could strip from President Barack Obama the authority to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The Republican-controlled House is expected on Wednesday to vote on, and almost certainly approve, H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act.

The bill would declare a Presidential cross-border permit is not required to approve the TransCanada Corp.'s proposed pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Canada's Alberta province to refiners in Texas.

Obama's advisers "would recommend that he veto this bill," the White House's Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administrative policy.

Prospects for action on Keystone in the Senate, which is held by Democrats, are uncertain.

A majority of the Senate wrote to Obama in January urging approval of the project. But those 53 backers, including nine Democrats, would be far short of the two-thirds votes needed to overcome a presidential veto - 67 if all 100 members of the Senate voted.

In its statement the OMB said the House bill "conflicts with longstanding Executive branch procedures regarding the authority of the President, the Secretaries of State, the Interior, and the Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency administrator."

It added that the State Department "is working diligently to complete the permit decision process" for Keystone, making the bill "unnecessary."

A decision on the pipeline has been pending for over four years. The project is strongly supported by much of the energy industry as a boost to North American oil security, and by some unions as a driver of job creation.

Environmental groups say the 830,000-barrel-per-day pipeline would raise greenhouse gas emissions and lock the United States into oil dependence for decades into the future. (Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (36)
DragonDagger wrote:
And when there is a Republican president they will vote to raise the veto limit back to 67. Just like under Bush with a democratic minority they wanted to kill the filibuster but now that the republicans are the minority no word on killing the filibuster now.

May 22, 2013 11:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kingwalrus wrote:
Another example of how Obummer thinks of himself before thinking about what is best for the country. How many of these insults do we have to endure before we wake up and start impeachment proceedings.

May 22, 2013 11:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
It’s all about getting them to vote to see where they stand on job.

May 22, 2013 11:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.