Manchin: Obama's Keystone Veto Threat 'Will Not Allow This Congress to Turn Over a New Leaf'

Sponsors of the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline said President Obama’s veto threat is proof that he’s not ready to work cooperatively with Congress as promised.

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“I would not anticipate that the president will sign this piece of legislation,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today. “We promised — you know, we indicated that the president would veto a similar legislation that is being considered by the previous Congress. And our position on this hasn’t changed.”

“Again, there’s a well-established process that should not be undermined by legislation.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is co-sponsoring Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-N.D.) Keystone bill, said he’s “disappointed that the president will not allow this Congress to turn over a new leaf and engage in the legislative process to improve an important piece of legislation.”

“His decision to veto such a commonsense bill prior to the unfolding of regular congressional order and the offering of amendments appears premature and does little to mitigate the congressional gridlock,” Manchin said. “It is time that we address the critical issues of moving America toward energy independence and fostering job growth and economic prosperity.”

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Earnest said only Monday that the White House would need to see the bill before deciding whether to veto it. “Well, the text of this legislation was made public since the last time I discussed this,” he said today.

Hoeven said the threat “comes as no surprise,” adding that Obama “has held the Keystone XL pipeline project up for six years with endless bureaucratic delays – his strategy has been defeat through delay.”

“That’s unfortunate, because the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved on its merits. It’s about energy, jobs, economic growth and national security,” he said. “Furthermore, the State Department in its environmental review has stated that the Keystone XL pipeline will have no significant environmental impact. That’s why the American people overwhelmingly support it, by 70 percent in the polls.”

“Instead of a veto threat, the president should be joining with Congress on a bipartisan basis to approve the project for the American people, rather than blocking it on behalf of special interest groups. He now says he’ll veto legislation to approve it.”

On Earnest’s insistence that the project go through the proper approvals process, Hoeven stressed, “But the president has undermined this process with endless delays.”

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), though, applauded Obama “for standing up to Republicans trying to ram through Congress a bill to let a Canadian oil company ship some of the dirtiest oil on the planet across the United States on its way to overseas markets.”

“Climate change is real. It is caused by human activities. It already is causing devastating problems and if we don’t transform our energy system those problems will become much worse in years to come. Our country must lead the world in combating the planetary crisis of global warming,” Sanders said. “We must not reject science and set a terrible example by encouraging the drilling of oil that creates more carbon emissions than conventional oil and poses the risk of extremely damaging oil spills.”

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