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Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline

President Barack Obama has vetoed the Keystone Pipeline bill as promised, using his veto pen for just the third time and the first since 2010.  

Obama had repeatedly vowed to veto the bill, one of the first major legislative efforts by Republicans now in charge of both chambers of Congress, citing process. Obama has said the State Department’s years-long review of the project must finish first, and Press Secretary Josh Earnest has left open the possibility Obama could approve it then.  

The veto came without public fanfare or a big ceremony.  

The Senate received the veto message Tuesday afternoon. Immediately after that, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced on the floor that action in response to the veto would be considered no later than March 3.  

Republicans note the project generally fares well in public opinion polls.  

(Mandel Ngan/AFP File Photo)
(Mandel Ngan/AFP File Photo)

And though the project has bipartisan support, it does not have veto-proof majorities of 291 in the House and 67 in the Senate. That means an override vote is certain to fail.  

It remains to be seen whether Keystone might become a bargaining chip at some point down the line as Obama faces showdowns with Republicans on any number of issues.  

And it almost assuredly won’t be the last veto of the next two years. Obama’s already threatened vetoes on many of the major bills being considered by Republicans so far, including any effort to stop his immigration executive actions.  

Although if Senate Democrats continue to act as his de facto veto pen on measures like the DHS funding bill via the filibuster, Obama’s veto pen might not get as big a workout as had been expected.  

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report. The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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