A vote to override President Obama’s veto of a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline failed in the Senate today. Only 62 Senators voted to bypass the veto, short of the necessary 67 votes (and interestingly one shy of the 63 that passed the bill before it first made it to the President’s desk), and with that the bill is dead. But as the Hill reports, the GOP-controlled Congress is still determined to force Obama’s hand on the issue and isn’t short of options to try:
“If we don’t win the battle today, we will win the war, because we will attach it to another piece of legislation,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who authored the bill, said Wednesday. Hoeven said Republicans are likely to try to attach the legislation to a long-term transportation funding bill. Congress faces a May 31 deadline to approve new transportation funding.“This is coming back in the form an infrastructure bill, a road bill that we are all voting for,” said [Senator Joe Manchin].Keystone supporters are optimistic that Obama won’t veto a six-year highway bill, despite vows by the president to veto any attempt to circumvent the ongoing review process of the pipeline. If attaching Keystone to a transpiration bill doesn’t work, they will try to link it to a broader energy package.
The only unexpected part of today’s events was that they happened today—originally it looked like the Senate would undertake the veto override vote on Thursday. But the outcome of the vote was predictable, just as its veto was, and just as the eventual attempts to fold it into future legislation will be.Keystone is a political football and has been for some time, but with pressure from Congress mounting and excuses for more delays evaporating, the Obama Administration will hopefully put the issue to rest soon. The pipeline should have been approved years ago, but at this point it seems as if any kind of closure would be preferable to this regulatory morass.