Republicans are pushing bills in both the House and Senate to fast-track approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
But on Tuesday, the White House threatened to veto any such bill if it was similar to the ones debated in the previous Congress.
A Keystone XL approval bill passed the House but failed in the Senate in November 2014. It’s expected to pass this time around now that Republicans have more seats.
“If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The Obama administration is still deciding whether to ultimately approve TransCanada’s application for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from the oil sands of Alberta down to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Officials are awaiting the outcome of a Nebraska case that could determine the pipeline’s route, and the White House has said it doesn’t want to be rushed.
Lately, Obama has sounded skeptical about the pipeline. He’s noted that the pipeline was unlikely to create a lot of jobs in the US or push gas prices down significantly. And he’s said he won’t approve it if it “significantly exacerbate[s]” the carbon-dioxide emissions that cause global warming.
If Obama does block the Keystone bill, Republicans are unlikely to have enough votes to override his veto — they currently have 63 backers in the Senate (and would need 67). Instead, they may try to attach Keystone approval to bigger legislation later on, making it harder for Obama to veto.