Obama Threatens Veto of Keystone Pipeline Legislation, Aide Says

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) annual Women's Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama would veto legislation that would force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, his spokesman said.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the similar bills moving through the House and Senate are largely the same as legislation proposed last year and opposed by the president.

“This piece of legislation’s not altogether different from legislation that was introduced in the last Congress,” Earnest said today. “If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either.”

A Senate panel is scheduled to hold a hearing on its pipeline legislation tomorrow. John Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican and the measure’s chief sponsor, said an initial test vote would take place Jan. 12, and that the chamber would spend “several weeks” considering a range of amendments to the bill.

Obama has insisted that a long-delayed State Department review of the TransCanada Corp. pipeline be completed before it can be decided. Earnest has said the administration is concerned about its contribution to emissions linked to climate change.

The Republican-controlled House can easily pass a Keystone bill and will vote on the measure later this week. Republicans take control of the Senate today after winning a net of nine seats in the Nov. 4 election. The question is whether the new Congress can muster the two-thirds votes to override a presidential veto if Obama rejected the measure.

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