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House Approves XL Pipeline, Senate Expected to Vote Next Week Setting Up Showdown with President

November 15, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
House Approves XL Pipeline, Senate Expected to Vote Next Week Setting Up Showdown with President Image courtesy of loe.org

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The House of Representatives voted Friday to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, sending the bill to the Senate for a showdown vote next week, which could for the first time place the bill on President Obama’s desk.

The plan passed Friday on a 252-161 vote, with 31 Democrats joining Republicans to approve it. An identical bill will be voted on in the Senate on Tuesday.

The legislation has heated up after Democratic Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu began pushing the measure, in a bid to aid her struggling runoff Senate bid.

In response, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running against Landrieu in the runoff, sponsored the House bill that was approved on Friday.

Senate supporters said they were confident they’d have the 60 votes needed for passage.

This would force Obama to either sign it, which would go against his environmentalist supporters or veto it.

The pipeline has been stalled by environmental reviews, objections to its route and politics for six years. The White House has threatened to veto similar attempts to move the pipeline forward.

In response to the latest efforts, Obama, traveling in Burma on Friday, indicated he still wants to let a review process run its course.

“I don’t think we should short-circuit that process,” he said. He said the administration thinks the project should be judged on the basis of whether it accelerates climate change, and pushed back on claims that it would be a “massive jobs bill.”

After Friday’s vote, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said it was time for the president to listen to the American people, especially after the Republican gains in the midterm elections, and sign the bill.

“The president doesn’t have any more elections to win, and he has no other excuse for standing in the way. It’s time he start listening to the vast majority of Americans who support Keystone and help get more people back to work.” Boehner stated.

The 1,179-mile project is proposed to go from Canada through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

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