By Laura Barron-Lopez - 02/24/15 06:43 PM EST
Some Senate Democrats are already saying they will vote to override President Obama's veto of legislation authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump questions hound endangered Republican Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions Convicted ex-coal boss says he’s a ‘political prisoner’ MORE (W.Va.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillMcCaskill offers Trump 'Mean Girls' advice Trump's taxes bump Miss Universe from headlines Dem on NYT report: Trump 'walks away with a golden ticket' MORE (Mo.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampMoney for nothing: Rethinking CO2 Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada MORE (N.D.) and Bob CaseyBob CaseyGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Help individuals with disabilities achieve the American Dream with the ABLE to Work Act A dozen senators call for crackdown on Chinese steel MORE (Pa.) will vote to override Obama’s veto, according to aides, and it’s possible that several other Democrats will follow suit.
Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump Pelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Reid: Groping accusations show Trump’s ‘sickness’ MORE (R-Ky.), said the "Senate will soon vote on an override" of the veto, with the action coming "not later than March the 3rd."
Still, every Democratic vote to override the veto would be a rebuke of Obama, who needs to avoid major rifts with his party as he enters the final stretch of his presidency.
While Manchin said he plans to back the override, he isn't expecting the effort to be successful.
"I would vote to override it but are we going to have it? I mean we only had nine votes to pass it so what do you think? I don't think that's going to happen," Manchin told reporters on Tuesday.
McCaskill argued that Obama should listen to the State Department’s review of Keystone, which "shows that his oil is coming out of the ground, it’s only a question of how."
"Pipelines are better than barges or trains. That’s common sense, and I will vote to override this veto," McCaskill said.
Heitkamp, who has voted to approve the pipeline multiple times, said Keystone supporters need to fight on.
"We must continue to look for other avenues and also work for more votes and compromises on legislation that would ultimately approve this project," she said.
Sens. Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate poll raises Republican hopes in Pennsylvania, Florida Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs GOP Senate candidate reverses course, says he’ll vote Trump MORE (Colo.), Tom CarperTom CarperYahoo hack spurs push for legislation Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis MORE (Del.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel A dozen senators call for crackdown on Chinese steel MORE (Ind.), Jon TesterJon TesterGOP plan: Link Dems to an email scandal Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables MORE (Mont.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerPolicymakers face long road to financial technology regulation Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (Va.) were the other Democrats joining Heitkamp, Manchin, McCaskill and Casey in voting to approve Keystone.
Even if all nine Democrats who voted to approve Keystone in January support overriding Obama's veto, the Senate would still fall short.
Getting a two-thirds majority would be even tougher in the House, with Republicans needing scores of Democrats to buck the president.
If an override fails, it still won't be the end, with proponents saying they will try to attach approval of Keystone to a larger energy package, an infrastructure bill or an appropriations bill.
And at every turn opponents will meet votes with protests, and will press Democrats to sustain the veto.
“The sooner we can start working on sustaining a veto, the better,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “What it comes down to is loyalty to president.”