WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed the Senate version of legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday, sending the bill to President Barack Obama’s desk for an anticipated veto.
The bill passed by a vote of 270-152.
This marks the 11th time the House has voted on a bill to force approval of Keystone. The bill passed Wednesday is the version that the Senate approved on Jan. 29. It includes a few amendments but is substantially similar to the previous House measure.
The White House has said repeatedly that Obama will veto the measure and instead wait for the State Department to finish its review of the proposed pipeline. Because the project would cross an international border, the department is given the authority to issue a final determination on whether it’s in the best interest of the country. Agency comments on the final environmental impact statement for the project were due on Feb. 2, and are currently under agency review. It remains unclear when the department will issue its decision.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) described Wednesday’s vote as “finishing our work on the Keystone pipeline” in a press conference that morning, and accused Obama of standing with “extremists” who oppose the pipeline.
“We build pipelines all around America every single day. Keystone has been reviewed and approved numerous times. Even the president’s own State Department will say that it creates 42,000 new jobs,” said Boehner. “But instead of listening to the people, the president is standing with a bunch of left, fringe extremists and anarchists. The president needs to listen to the American people and say, ‘Yes! Let’s build the Keystone pipeline.'”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also urged Obama to reconsider his veto threat in a speech Wednesday.
If Obama were to veto the Keystone bill, it would be only the third veto used during his presidency.
While the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have put Keystone atop their priority lists this Congress, neither chamber has enough votes to override a presidential veto.