March 4, 2015 4:00 PM, EST

Senate Fails to Override Obama's Keystone Veto

The U.S. Senate failed to override President Obama’s veto of a bill forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a setback for Republicans who have made building the $8 billion U.S.-Canada oil link a legislative priority.


Supporters of the pipeline, including Republicans and some Democrats, fell short of the two-thirds super majority needed to overcome the veto by Obama, who said the bill circumvented his administration’s review. The vote was 62-37.

Prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the decision to build Keystone was “a no-brainer,” and urged a few more Democrats to break with the president and overturn the veto.

“The real question here is whether we’re going to allow Keystone’s energy to help support middle-class jobs in America, or whether we’ll allow those jobs and energy to potentially be sent to high-polluting countries like China,” McConnell said.

It was the second major loss this week for Republicans, who control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They also failed to repeal Obama’s immigration policies as part of a spending bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security after Democrats objected.

No timetable for an override vote has been set in the House, where Republican leaders were waiting for the outcome in the Senate, Mike Long, a spokesman for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said in an e-mail.

“If we overrode the president’s veto, we would be subverting safety and environmental standards,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate energy committee. “Why circumvent the process?”