Senate Approves Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, Testing Obama

January 29, 2015

Wall Street Journal (Subscription may be required)

The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which President Obama is certain to veto in his first official clash with the new Republican-majority Congress.

The five-year fight over the Keystone pipeline has become a proxy for far broader fights over climate change, energy and the economy, and for the conflict between Mr. Obama and congressional Republicans.

When Republicans won control of the Senate late last year, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, chose the Keystone bill as the first measure Republicans would send to Mr. Obama.

The White House promptly said that Mr. Obama would veto the measure, which would force the approval of a proposed 1,179-mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It would be just the third veto of Mr. Obama’s presidency, but the opening shot in a fight over Republican-sponsored measures.

The Senate voted 62 to 36 in favor of building the pipeline. Nine Democrats joined 53 Republicans in passing the bill. The passage sends the measure back to the House, which passed a largely similar bill this month. House leaders are deciding whether to pass the Senate bill as is or to hold a conference merging the House and Senate versions into a new bill to be voted on by each chamber.

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