President Obama just vetoed legislation dropped on his desk to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” Obama said in his statement to the Senate.
“The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people,” he continued. “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.”
The veto comes as no surprise, though this morning congressional Republicans were rallying pressure on the administration through social media.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the veto “a national embarrassment.”
“It’s embarrassing when Russia and China are plowing ahead on two massive pipelines and we can’t get this one no-brainer of a project off the ground. The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America’s workers. He’s too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that’s put the national interest first,” Boehner said.
“We are not going to give up in our efforts to get this pipeline built – not even close. We pledged to make the people’s priorities our priorities, and we will keep working every day to deliver on that commitment.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, applauded the president for just saying no to “Canadian special interests.”
“Reports have shown the pipeline project will increase the dangers of spills like the ones that occurred in Arkansas and Michigan, and will result in pollution that causes serious illnesses like asthma and increases in carbon pollution – the main cause of climate change,” Boxer said. “Instead of building this pipeline, which will only create 35 permanent jobs, the Republican leadership should immediately focus on passing a long-term transportation bill that will support millions of jobs.”
The chairman of the EPW committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), said Obama “denied Americans thousands of new, well-paying jobs and the opportunity to progress towards energy independence.”
“In my home state of Oklahoma on March 22, 2012, he acknowledged that America is producing ‘so much oil and gas in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it.’ Today he confirmed this was just another campaign stump speech that he did not intend to back up with real solutions,” Inhofe said.
“I stand in strong support of a veto override vote. Congress must band together with the majority of Americans who support this job-creating initiative. The U.S. energy sector has faithfully provided over 9.2 million jobs to our economy, and it is unfortunate the president has failed to lead the way in standing for energy independence, national security, and a more robust economy.”
The bill passed the Senate 62-36 on Jan. 29 with one Republican (Marco Rubio) and one Democrat (Harry Reid) not voting. Nine Dems sided with the GOP in that vote.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), sponsor of the bill, said he’d “continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to try and gain the support necessary to override the veto.”
“Another option is to attach this legislation to other energy, infrastructure or appropriations legislation that the President won’t want to veto,” Hoeven said. “The will of the American people and Congress is clear.”