The ink has barely dried on President Obama's veto of a bill to build the Keystone XL pipeline, but Republicans are already eyeing their next move.
Even the most ardent supporters of the controversial project acknowledge that a Senate vote to override the White House veto slated for Thursday is likely to fail. So pipeline backers are looking past this week's doomed vote and have begun to mull attaching Keystone to an appropriations bill, the transportation reauthorization bill, or broader energy legislation.
"Those of us who think it should pass ... I think are going to look for other ways to deal with this, either on an appropriations process or some other way legislatively," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters.
Republicans have long called for Obama to approve the $8 billion pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Obama has so far not made a final call on whether Keystone should be built but has vowed to veto attempts by Congress to force a decision before the administration's decision-making process plays out.
That threat has not deterred Keystone backers, however.
"We're not going to wait until Obama makes a final decision. If we did, we could be waiting for who knows how long," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the author of the recently vetoed bill, said in an interview. "No concrete decisions have been made yet, but whatever we do, we're going to be talking with Democrats to try to find a vehicle that has the best chance of passing."