North Dakota U.S. Sen. John Hoeven said Sunday that the Senate is only four votes shy of the 67 needed to override President Obama’s likely veto of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Right now we’ve got about 63, but we’re going to the floor with an open amendment process trying to foster more bipartisanship, getting the Senate to work the way it’s supposed to work so that we can pass this measure and other measures and either override the veto or attach the bill to other legislation either that will get 67 votes,” Hoeven, a Republican, told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
The Senate is expected to approve the construction of the 1,179 mile pipeline in a vote next week. Earlier this week, the House voted to approve the measure 266 to 153.
But the White House has signaled that President Obama will veto the pipeline, which has put on hold a pending decision by the State Department, whose approval is required given that the pipeline will traverse the U.S.-Canada border.
Hoeven has led the charge to pass the construction of the pipeline, saying that it will transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day — 110,000 of that from fields in North Dakota and Montana. That will boost the economy and help create U.S. energy independence, Hoeven and other supporters have claimed. Environmentalists have largely opposed the pipeline, arguing that it will contribute to climate change.
“As to what is the President doing doing; actions speak lower than words,” Hoeven told Wallace. “He’s delayed this project. Americans won World World War II in less than six years. So clearly he’s trying to defeat the project with endless delays, which is why it’s important that Congress acts.”
The Nebraska Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Obama administration on Friday, deciding to toss out a lawsuit challenging the route of the pipeline. Obama himself has cited that lawsuit as one reason for a delay in making a decision on the pipeline.