President Obama dealt a blow to Republican leaders by vetoing a top GOP priority—a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline—sending it back to the Senate, where an attempt to override the veto will likely fail.
That veto, only the third ever issued by Obama, is expected to usher in a new era of hostile confrontation between the president and the Republican Congress. It also marks the latest twist in a years-long saga over the oil-sands project, an iconic symbol at the center of a contentious debate over American energy security, oil prices, and global warming.
Obama reiterated his promise to veto legislation green-lighting the controversial oil-sands pipeline before the administration's years-long review of the project has played out.
"The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously," Obama said in a statement accompanying the veto. "But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. 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."
Republicans on Capitol Hill have vowed to keep pressing for Keystone's approval despite the veto. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the Senate will attempt to override the veto, a vote that McConnell said would take place no later than March 3.