By Timothy Cama - 11/04/14 11:07 AM EST
President Obama would sign a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline if a Republican-controlled Senate passed the measure, the Republican National Committee’s chairman predicted.
Approving Keystone, more than six years after the Obama administration received TransCanada Corp.’s application to construct an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, was one of the priorities Reince Priebus laid out Tuesday for a GOP-led Senate.
“And I actually think the president will sign the bill on the Keystone pipeline because I think the pressure — he’s going to be boxed in on that, and I think it’s going to happen,” he said.
Congressional Republicans and some Democrats have pushed for the controversial pipeline’s approval for years.
But Obama has repeatedly delayed issuing a permit for its final section to cross the border from Canada, leading his opponents to accuse him of pandering to environmentalists who say oil sands projects in Alberta create too much pollution.
The Republican-led House has passed multiple measures to force Obama’s hand.
In the Senate, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a bill to issue Keystone’s permit, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) never brought it to the floor.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised in September that if Republicans win Senate control and he becomes majority leader, Keystone’s permit would be approved.